PHARMACY

CHPA case study explores teen abuse of dextromethorphan

BY Gina Acosta

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association has published a case study regarding efforts to curb teen abuse of over-the-counter cough medicine containing dextromethorphan. 

The paper, “Dextromethorphan: a case study on addressing abuse of a safe and effective drug,” was published in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, an open access, peer-reviewed journal that encompasses research concerning substance abuse, with a focus on policy issues.

The case study provides an overview of the targeted abuse mitigation plan CHPA launched in 2010 to address levers influencing teen decisions. As noted in the case study, the annual prevalence of OTC cough medicine abuse has sharply decreased since 2010 and remains at an all-time low of approximately 3 percent of U.S. teens. The case study examines the development, implementation, and outcomes of CHPA’s efforts to raise parental awareness of the behavior, increase teen perception of risk and social disapproval, and to limit teen access to the products.

“While we cannot point to one specific effort and say, ‘This is the action that drove down abuse,’ CHPA and our member companies have been disciplined in executing a program that is grounded in research and utilizes tools to ensure our strategies and specific messages were effective,” CHPA Senior Vice President, Policy, and General Counsel & Secretary David Spangler said. “We hope that this case study demonstrates how targeted and less disruptive interventions can be effective when trying to reach teens on niche issues such as dextromethorphan abuse and that the learnings we gained will be beneficial for other groups who are working to positively influence teen behavior.”

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PHARMACY

McKesson and Change Healthcare to form new IT company

BY Gina Acosta

SAN FRANCISCO & NASHVILLE, Tenn. — McKesson and Change Healthcare Holdings announced the creation of a new healthcare information technology company on Tuesday.

The entity will combine substantially all of Change Healthcare’s business and the majority of McKesson Technology Solutions into a new company.

“This is a bold, innovative transaction that creates a company with an enhanced ability to help customers address their increasingly complex financial and clinical challenges,” said John H. Hammergren, chairman and chief executive officer, McKesson Corp. “The new company will establish a more efficient suite of end-to-end payment and claims solutions, as well as clinical capabilities, while unlocking the value of our MTS businesses in a tax-efficient manner. We look forward to partnering with Change Healthcare’s management team and employees to create this new enterprise and to help customers reduce complexity, lower costs and ultimately provide better care.”

The new organization brings together the strengths of MTS and Change Healthcare to deliver a broad portfolio of solutions that will help lower healthcare costs, improve patient access and outcomes, and make it simpler for payers, providers, and consumers to manage the transition to value-based care, the companies said. As a separate entity singularly focused on healthcare technology and technology-enabled services, the new organization will be positioned to better respond to customer needs and deliver next-generation innovations.

“The combination of these two entities comes at a transformational time in U.S. healthcare,” commented Neil de Crescenzo, president and chief executive officer, Change Healthcare. “Together we will create significant value by bringing together complementary capabilities from both organizations to deliver innovative new solutions for customers, create opportunities for team members at a leading healthcare technology company, and drive advancements that address the three critical areas of cost, quality and outcomes across the healthcare sector.”

The new company will be able to offer health plans and providers a comprehensive suite of end-to-end financial and payment solutions and technologies. In addition, customers will benefit from solutions that help them manage administrative and clinical complexity as they navigate the transition to value-based care. Patients will have better tools that allow them to make more informed decisions, helping them maximize their healthcare dollars and receive high quality care.

Under the terms of the agreement, McKesson will contribute the majority of its McKesson Technology Solutions businesses to the new company, with the exception of RelayHealth Pharmacy and its Enterprise Information Solutions (EIS) division, which will be retained by McKesson. McKesson separately announced today that it will explore strategic alternatives for its EIS division.

Change Healthcare will contribute all of its businesses to the new company, with the exception of its pharmacy switch and prescription routing business, which will be owned separately by the current Change Healthcare stockholders. Change Healthcare is currently majority-owned by Blackstone.

McKesson will own approximately 70% of the new company, with the remaining equity stake held by Change Healthcare stockholders, which includes Blackstone and Hellman & Friedman. McKesson and Change Healthcare stockholders will jointly govern the new company and John H. Hammergren will serve as chairman. Neil de Crescenzo will serve as chief executive officer, joined by an experienced management team comprised of leaders from both McKesson and Change Healthcare.

The transaction is subject to closing conditions, including antitrust clearance and the completion of audited financial statements of the MTS businesses being contributed to the new company, and is expected to close in the first half of calendar year 2017. The agreement provides that McKesson and Change Healthcare will take steps to launch an initial public offering in the months following the close of the transaction, subject to market conditions. 

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Report: Shopko launches personalized prescription program

BY Gina Acosta

Shopko’s pharmacy is introducing a new prescription synchronization program, AlignMyMeds, that allows prescriptions to be synchronized for automatic refills each month. (Waushara Argus

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