PHARMACY

CVS Caremark, Alere develop alliance to provide enhanced health management services to clients

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark and Inverness Medical Innovations, through its Alere health management business, announced Tuesday a strategic alliance that will enhance the companies’ abilities to deliver more timely, highly coordinated and personalized health management services.

The companies said the alliance will improve participants’ healthcare outcomes while helping payers and employers more efficiently manage costs. This can be achieved as participants are engaged through multiple delivery channels — including convenient and less costly venues like retail clinics. Additionally, chronically ill patients served by CVS Caremark’s Accordant Common disease management programs will be managed and have access to expanded offerings provided by Alere, a leader in health services for wellness, disease management, oncology and complex case management.

Meanwhile, Alere customers will gain access to direct service by MinuteClinic retail health clinic nurse practitioners and CVS pharmacists. Customers of both companies will have access to a broad array of services ranging from those provided through the high touch, in-home monitoring, telephonic and web-based offerings of Alere, to the face-to-face counseling provided at approximately 500 MinuteClinics and nearly 7,000 CVS/pharmacy locations around the country.

“This alliance strengthens the clinical options we offer our customers,” said Troyen Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. “Our patients gain access to Alere’s expanded suite of services, such as wellness, prevention and health management programs. These also include programs tailored to meet the needs of women and children. Alere’s customers will benefit from direct access to our nurse practitioners at MinuteClinic and CVS pharmacists at our retail stores.”

This alliance, the companies said, will allow for more timely, coordinated and personalized disease management, by improving communications. For example, if an Alere nurse identifies a patient with heart disease who is not taking medications as prescribed, or who is not taking medicine for a common co-morbid condition, the nurse will communicate that gap in care to a retail CVS pharmacist or MinuteClinic nurse practitioner, when the patient is scheduled to pick up a prescription or needs a test or screening at a clinic. The patient will be counseled to take action to improve their care by the appropriate provider.

While CVS Caremark is evolving its clinical offerings to leverage MinuteClinic locations to provide wellness, prevention and chronic illness management, the new alliance with Alere expands available clinical services even further. The expanded offerings can be made available to other customers and health plans as well, because the agreement is non-exclusive for both companies.

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Caraco settles patent suit over cancer generic

BY Alaric DeArment

DETROIT A generic drug maker announced Monday that it had settled patent litigation over a generic version of a cancer drug.

Caraco Pharmaceutical Labs said it reached a settlement with MedImmune over a generic version of the drug Ethyol (amifostine). MedImmune had filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Under the settlement, MedImmune granted Caraco a license to certain patents that permit Caraco to continue marketing its generic version of Ethyol in the United States.

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Biosimilars bill passed by House committee draws response from GPhA

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A House committee vote has brought a pathway for biosimilars one step closer to reality, but not in a way that pleases everyone.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 47-11 Friday to pass an amendment to the healthcare reform bill that would give biotech drugs 12 years of market exclusivity before they face competition from biosimilars.

“We are sincerely disappointed that some members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have decided to put brand pharmaceutical profits before patient needs,” Generic Pharmaceutical Association president and CEO Kathleen Jaeger said in a statement. “The amendment passed tosses patient needs out the window.”

In March, Reps. Henry Waxman and Anna Eshoo, both California Democrats, sponsored competing bills in Congress to allow a regulatory pathway for biosimilars. Waxman’s bill would give biotech drugs five years’ market exclusivity before facing biosimilar competition, like the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, which created a pathway for generic pharmaceutical drugs. Eshoo’s bill would grant 12 to 14 years of exclusivity. The short-exclusivity plan has the support of the generic drug industry, patient advocates, pharmacy trade groups and The Washington Post editorial page, though legislation to allow longer exclusivity periods has advanced further in the House and Senate.

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