HEALTH

CVS Caremark salutes pharmacists

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. October is American Pharmacists Month, and CVS Caremark has announced that it is recognizing its 26,000 pharmacists who provide care to their patients in its retail pharmacies, mail-service pharmacies and specialty pharmacies across the country.

“Whether they are providing flu shots in our 7,100 stores, counseling patients in person or on the phone, or explaining a new specialty drug therapy to a patient, our pharmacists are delivering best-in-class care to their patients every day,” stated Larry Merlo, president and COO of CVS Caremark. “Pharmacy care remains the most cost-effective method of treatment in the healthcare industry, as proper adherence to prescriptions can prevent more expensive outcomes, such as hospitalization or long-term complications from chronic disease. By helping patients stay adherent to their medication therapies, pharmacists play a critical role in lowering overall healthcare costs while improving their patients’ health and well-being,” he added.

CVS Caremark will publicly recognize its pharmacists during October with ads in industry trade publications and on its in-store radio network. The company also will celebrate National Pharmacy Technician Day on Oct. 26 in recognition of the role its 50,000 technicians play in supporting CVS Caremark pharmacists and serving their patients.

In related news, Walgreens also expressed its support for its 27,000 pharmacists in recognition of American Pharmacists Month. The chain addressed its one-on-one patient consultations and expanding immunization programs, as well as its community education programs. Each year since 2008, Walgreens has donated more than $1 million to support initiatives dedicated to promoting diversity at all accredited pharmacy schools nationwide. Through these donations, students get an opportunity to apply their education by better understanding and serving different communities and needs.

“Pharmacists are some of the most trusted healthcare professionals in the nation,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. “With our extensive network of more than 7,500 pharmacies in communities coast to coast, we strive to make sure patients are armed with the knowledge to get the best possible outcomes from their medication. Our pharmacies are staffed with some of the most talented professionals in the industry. They are truly dedicated to providing high-quality pharmacy service, and I’m proud of the support and guidance they offer to millions of patients every day.”

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FDA tentatively approves generic Crestor

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic cholesterol drug made by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

Sun announced Wednesday the tentative approval of rosuvastatin calcium tablets in the 5-mg, 10-mg, 20-mg and 40-mg strengths.

The drug is a generic version of AstraZeneca’s Crestor, which had annual sales of around $3.4 billion in the United States, according to Sun. Sun did not disclose when it would begin marketing its version of the drug, though Crestor will lose patent protection for use in adults in December 2021, according to FDA data.

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Walgreens names SVP pharmaceutical development, market access

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens announced Thursday that Jeffrey Berkowitz, a former SVP at drug maker Merck, has joined the company.

Berkowitz will serve as Walgreens’ SVP pharmaceutical development and market access, responsible for the overall pharmacy contracting strategy for the company, both on the pharmaceutical manufacturing side and on the retail payer side, the drug store chain said. He will report to Walgreens’ pharmacy services president Kermit Crawford.

“As we continue our efforts to transform community pharmacy, Jeff will play a vital role in working with our partners in the pharmaceutical industry, and across the entire healthcare sector, to develop strategies in collaboration with our sales and services organization that will provide better adherence and clinical outcomes for patients,” Crawford said. “In addition, Jeff’s exceptional experience, expertise and track record of growth and success in the pharmaceutical industry will be important to further enhancing our pharmacy, health-and-wellness solutions.”

Prior to joining Walgreens, Berkowitz served as SVP global market access at Merck, part of the Merck global human health leadership team, responsible for all activity related to access, pricing, payer marketing, health outcomes and health technology assessments worldwide.

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