PHARMACY

Continuing Rx integration

BY DSN STAFF

Drug Store News speaks with Jim Wonderly, VP pharmacy at Stop & Shop, Giant-Landover and Ahold USA.

Drug Store News: With the reorganization of Ahold USA there seems to be a real effort to get more localized in each market. Does that mean changes in the pharmacy?

Jim Wonderly: I think the reorganization will really help us to be even more in touch with our local customers. Like any other department, pharmacy certainly will be part of the reorganization. When it’s all done, we’ll be a much stronger organization that’s extremely focused on the customer.

DrSN: Ahold is known for providing more than just prescriptions to its customers—the flu inoculation program comes to mind. Are there other initiatives coming in 2010 in any of the divisions?

Wonderly: Yes, there is going to be a continued focus on integrating pharmacy into the food store.… It’s going to go beyond just conversation and convert to action in 2010.… [For example,] when you look at the top 10 drugs we dispense, there’s a fair amount of them that require dietary changes to be completely effective.

We also are moving forward quickly to expand our base of pharmacists who can provide immunizations. We expanded that base dramatically last year, and we anticipate expanding it again this year. We want to continue to make that a key piece of our pharmacy offerings going forward.

This was a very unique flu season, obviously. I don’t know if that will be repeated in 2010, but I think we’ve learned a lot from 2009. And that is going to allow us to provide even more effective service in 2010, as it relates not just to immunizations but to other areas.

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PHARMACY

Walgreens offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens now is offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries at all of its more than 7,100 pharmacies throughout the country.

Following the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D insurance plans, Walgreens is assisting those beneficiaries who’ve made changes to their prescription drug coverage. Review sessions with Walgreens pharmacists are available daily by appointment through Jan. 31, and are designed to help patients maximize their plan benefits.

Review sessions include:

  • A review of beneficiary’s current medications, tiers within their selected plan, co-pays and cost-savings opportunities
  • Discussion of available health and wellness services including pneumonia and shingles vaccinations and 90-day prescription benefits
  • Checks for potential drug interactions

Customers can call their nearest Walgreens pharmacy to schedule an appointment. Visit www.walgreens.com or call 1-800-Walgreens for store locations and hours.

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Watson files FDA application for generic LoSeasonique

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Watson Labs, a subsidiary of specialty pharmaceutical company Watson Pharmaceuticals, has filed an abbreviated new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration for an oral contraceptive.

Watson is seeking approval to market its levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (0.10-mg/0.02-mg) oral contraceptive product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545, which is owned by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Teva.  Watson’s levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol product is a generic version of Teva’s LoSeasonique, which is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy.

On Nov. 23, 2009, pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, Watson notified Duramed that its ANDA requesting approval from the FDA for a generic version of LoSeasonique contained a paragraph IV certification asserting that the LoSeasonique patent is invalid, unenforceable and/or not infringed.  Teva Women’s Health filed suit against Watson on Jan. 6, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey seeking to prevent Watson from commercializing its product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545.  Based on available information, Watson believes it may be entitled to 180 days of generic market exclusivity or shared exclusivity should its product receive approval.

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