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AmerisourceBergen and Walgreens officially kick off new 10-year distribution deal

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — AmerisourceBergen and Walgreens on Tuesday officially launched the previously announced 10-year relationship to distribute pharmaceuticals to more than 8,100 Walgreens locations across the country. With today’s launch, AmerisourceBergen becomes the primary supplier of brand pharmaceutical products across all of Walgreens locations, the wholesaler stated. In the coming months, AmerisourceBergen will assume primary distribution of all generic products to Walgreens. 

“We are proud to launch a major operational phase of our new distribution agreement with Walgreens today,” stated Steve Collis, president and CEO AmerisourceBergen. “Our partnership with Walgreens marks the largest distribution deal of its kind within the pharmaceutical industry, and we are confident our teams will execute operations seamlessly to supply the millions of Walgreens customers with brand and generic pharmaceutical products.” 

The agreement outlines a 10-year comprehensive primary pharmaceutical distribution contract between AmerisourceBergen and Walgreens.  AmerisourceBergen also will have access to global sourcing for generic drugs and related pharmaceutical products through the joint venture between Walgreens and Alliance Boots.

“Today marks a significant milestone as we expand our relationship with AmerisourceBergen to form a collaborative wholesale-retail model in the United States,” said Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO. “AmerisourceBergen’s leadership in distribution and emphasis on community pharmacy, health systems and alternate sites of care aligns perfectly with our goal to transform the role of community pharmacy.”

Collis and Wasson will highlight the launch of the agreement implementation during a series of events in the greater Chicago area. Collis and Wasson will make local stops at the Joint Command Center in Deerfield, Ill., before traveling to the Naperville, Ill., area to visit the Customer Care Center and a Walgreens “Well Experience” store, followed by a tour of the local distribution center.

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Arizona targets teen smokers with smoking-cessation program

BY Michael Johnsen

PHOENIX — Arizona last week launched what it is billing as the first-ever comprehensive program aimed at helping adolescents and young adult smokers called “The Cignal.” The program uses a website (TheCignal.com) with customized tips and advice for young smokers and a toll-free helpline (1-800-55-66-222) where they can talk to quit coaches for free.

“The Cignal has the potential to forever change young lives,” stated Stephen Michael, Arizona Smokers’ Helpline and The Cignal director. “It can help reverse the trend among those who graduate from casual smokers to permanent smokers. [As many as] 90% of adult smokers say they became fully addicted at age 18. The Cignal can set a new precedence for this age group throughout the nation.”

Focusing on adolescent and young adult cessation is important because about 17% of Arizona youth use tobacco products, Michael said. More than half of youth smokers do not try to quit, according to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey.

Quit coaches will help teens recognize their addiction to tobacco and provide assistance in quitting. Over-the-counter medication and other drug therapies will not be advised or made available to tobacco users under the age of 18 years through The Cignal. Callers younger than 18 will be encouraged to speak to their doctor if they are interested in nicotine replacement therapy. Parental consent will not be required to speak to a quit coach.

“When we counsel young adults, we stress that quitting will take time and they have the ability to achieve their goal,” Michael said. “We may encourage them to abandon social circles that sustain their tobacco use, and we may also encourage them to enlist friends and, if possible, family who support their desire to quit. The Cignal maximizes existing resources, and is developing best practices to help adolescent and young adult smokers in Arizona.”

According to recent interviews with young tobacco users across Arizona, teen and young adult smokers are different from adult smokers. Young smokers may not smoke daily and do not see themselves as smokers. They also aren’t receptive to the idea of needing help to quit. Many teen and young adult smokers believe that they can quit at any time without help, and have little or no knowledge about quitting. About 20% of high school students across the country are smokers, and a third of them will die prematurely from smoking-related disease, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

“Even though The Cignal doesn’t require parental consent, parents can play a role if they suspect that their adolescent smokes,” Michael said. “Parents should avoid threats or ultimatums and instead show interest in a helpful way, such as asking them questions about why they are smoking or what changes can be made to help them quit.”

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Sage North America to help develop McKesson Mobile Delivery application

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVINE, Calif. — Sage North America last week announced that it partnered with McKesson Pharmacy Systems & Automation, a division of McKesson, to help develop the McKesson Mobile Delivery application for prescription delivery services. 

"McKesson had a clear vision for the direction it wanted to take with McKesson Mobile Delivery, and the vital features needed to be HIPAA-compliant and simple to use," stated Greg Hammermaster, president of Sage Payment Solutions. "We included the ability to autodeposit the payments directly into pharmacy bank accounts within one or two business days to help ensure the application adds more value for pharmacies in both cash flow and back-office efficiencies."

McKesson Mobile Delivery was created to help improve prescription adherence rates, increase operational efficiencies for pharmacies and reduce costly hospital re-admissions. McKesson introduced the application at its annual McKesson ideaShare 2013 conference, and more than 50 pharmacies have already signed on to use it.

McKesson Mobile Delivery was specifically designed to enable pharmacies to make home deliveries and process payments using mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. The solution is HIPAA-compliant, is compatible with Apple iOS devices and pairs with a Sage Mobile Payments card reader to ensure each transaction is fully encrypted and PCI-compliant. The McKesson application allows pharmacists to bring their services to the point of care and capitalize on the advantages inherent with mobility. Customers benefit from home delivery, while pharmacists gain benefits by capturing the payment at the point of delivery, improving cash flow for pharmacists’ businesses and increasing quality of care for patients.

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