PHARMACY

APhA diabetes initiative marks three years

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON The American Pharmacists Association Foundation’s Diabetes Ten City Challenge is entering its fourth year, and APhA officials are celebrating by citing the program’s successes and its cost-saving potential in the midst of a foundering economy.

Launched in 2005, the Ten City Challenge is an employer-based diabetes self-management program conducted by the APhA Foundation with support from GlaxoSmithKline. The effort involves 30 employers in Charleston, S.C.; Chicago, Ill., Colorado Springs, Colo.; Cumberland, Md.; Dalton, Ga.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Los Angeles, Calif.; Milwaukee, Wis., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Tampa Bay, Fla.

Under the challenge program, participating employers establish a voluntary health benefit for employees, dependents and retirees with diabetes, and waive co-payments for diabetes medications and supplies if the patients work with a pharmacist “coach” to manage their condition. The program is modeled after other successful APhA initiatives that have been shown to improve overall health, reduce absenteeism, shorten hospital stays and reduce health care costs.

“When we launched the DTCC three years ago, we wanted to fundamentally change the way chronic disease is treated and paid for by emphasizing the importance of investing in wellness and using incentives to reward everyone involved,” said APhA Foundation chief executive officer William Ellis. “Today, hundreds of pharmacists are helping more than 1,000 people successfully manage their diabetes and improve their lives, thanks to the participation of 30 employers in 10 cities.

Earlier this year, the group revealed interim results for 914 DTCC participants. Those results showed statistically significant improvements in patient satisfaction and key clinical measures including blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Final economic and clinical data will be published in March 2009.

“In our years of experience with this model, we have seen that when you have positive clinical outcomes and increased patient satisfaction in the early stages, the economic benefits follow,” Ellis said. “The interim data is tracking similarly with past successful programs that utilized the collaborative care model, and we are excited about how the DTCC is transforming people’s lives.”

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J&J announces tender offer to buyout Omrix Biopharma stock

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that it would be making a tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of common stock of New York-based biotech Omrix Biopharmaceuticals in an offer worth about $438 million in cash.

Upon the successful closing of the offer, Omrix stockholders will receive $25 per share of Omrix common stock tendered in the offer, minus required holding taxes. Omrix will operate as a stand-alone company reporting through Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon.

J&J said it would file a tender offer statement with terms of the offer with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The offer will expire at midnight on Dec. 23.

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CVS Caremark, MinuteClinic working overtime to disseminate flu shots

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark is working toward its previously announced goal of delivering one million flu vaccinations this year and as part of that effort has kicked off an advertising campaign to inform consumers about CVS Caremark’s integrated flu vaccination offerings, not to mention drive awareness of the MinuteClinic model.

The “Flu Shots Made Simple” campaign began in September and will run through Dec. 31. It is a multi-faceted campaign that includes in-store signage and store radio spots, a national television campaign promoting joint CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic flu shot services, a MinuteClinic-dedicated TV campaign in select markets, newspaper ads in select markets, direct mail to target consumers and public relation efforts.

The goal: To inform consumers about CVS Caremark’s integrated flu vaccination offering which includes MinuteClinic locations, pharmacist-administered shots and scheduled flu shot clinics within select CVS/pharmacy locations.

“Flu shots have always been a key service of CVS and MinuteClinic. We had the opportunity this year to align MinuteClinic’s flu shot capabilities with other flu vaccination services offered at CVS/pharmacy. It is a natural point of integrated services within CVS Caremark,” said Melissa Studzinski, director of marketing for MinuteClinic.

While the campaign runs through Dec. 31, flu shots will continue to be available at all 559 MinuteClinic locations on demand throughout the flu season, which could run as late as March or April.

As part of the campaign, the company has created a flu shot voucher program for Caremark clients whereby participating members are eligible to receive a flu shot at MinuteClinic with no out-of-pocket cost to them, noted Studzinski.

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