Acute visits climb as MinuteClinic preps for rapid growth phase
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s retail-based clinic operator, MinuteClinic, is experiencing exponential gains in utilization and posted a 22% increase in acute visits during the past year, Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark president and COO, told investors Wednesday during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.
The increase, which reflects visits in comparable clinic locations, is especially significant in light of the lack of flu-related illnesses. MinuteClinic currently operates more than 550 clinics in 55 markets and, going forward, its important role in the U.S. healthcare system undoubtedly will grow increasingly vital. "Going forward, MinuteClinic will take on added significance," Merlo told investors. "Think about the growing shortage of the primary care physician population, along with the 32 million uninsured coming online with some type of coverage beginning in 2014."
As previously reported by Drug Store News, MinuteClinic is gearing up to meet the increased demand. The clinic operator plans to open more clinics at a rate of about 100 clinics per year, beginning this year. This growth plan will enable the company to double the number of clinic locations over the next five years. By 2015, MinuteClinic estimated it will operate about 1,060 clinics in 100 markets.
Merlo noted that CVS Caremark expects MinuteClinic to break even at the enterprise level by the end of 2011.
NCPA, AADE offer diabetes education program for pharmacists
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A program developed by the National Community Pharmacists Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators seeks to educate pharmacists on how to help teach patients to better manage their diabetes.
The Diabetes Accreditation Standards-Practical Applications program will be offered four times this year, the first one being held at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego Jan. 21 to 23, the groups said.
The DASPA program — which is divided into two parts, one online and one live — was developed last year to train pharmacists looking to establish a diabetes self-management education/training program and to accredit those programs via the Diabetes Education Accreditation Program. In the past, DSME/T services were limited to hospital settings, the groups noted.
“Diabetes affects 23.6 million Americans, with 57 million having prediabetes, so everything possible needs to be done to address this health crisis,” said Robert Greenwood, NCPA president and a pharmacy owner. “Pharmacists provide patients with diabetes prescription drugs, testing supplies, counseling and therapeutic shoes, but the missing component is teaching patients how to undergo the lifestyle changes that can make a difference. That is why we are offering four DASPA programs this year.”
More information about how you can take advantage of this opportunity now is available at NCPAnet.org/index.php/events/daspa, or by calling (800) 544-7447, ext. 2670.
Merck to develop biosimilars with Parexel
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Drug maker Merck and drug industry services organization Parexel International will work together to develop biosimilars, the two said Wednesday.
Under the agreement, Parexel will give Merck BioVentures access to clinical and regulatory services for the development of biosimilars. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“Parexel has extensive, industry-leading experience with biosimilar development, and we truly understand the scientific complexities and regulatory pathways involved,” Parexel chairman and CEO Josef von Rickenbach said. “We are committed to working with Merck BioVentures to assist in advancing its biosimilar portfolio in this rapidly developing market segment for the benefit of patients worldwide.”