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CVS’ Denton: We have a ‘lot of tools in our tool chest to differentiate ourselves’

BY Brian Berk

MIAMI — CVS Health’s integrated pharmacy model arms the retailer with “a lot of tools in our tool chest to differentiate ourselves” from the competition, David Denton, EVP and chief financial officer, stated Wednesday during the Barclays Global Healthcare Conference at the Lowes Miami Beach Hotel here.

One “tool” delivering excellent growth is CVS Specialty Connect, he said. CVS Health’s Specialty Connect is a specialty prescription services program offers patients choice and flexibility in how they access their specialty medications, while providing centralized, expert clinical support. Patients have the option to bring their specialty prescriptions to any CVS Pharmacy. After dropping off their prescription at the pharmacy, patients receive insurance guidance and dedicated clinical support by phone from a team of specialty pharmacy experts, trained in each therapeutic area, who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Once the prescription is ready, the program also makes it easy for patients to receive their specialty drugs. Patients can choose between in-store pickup at any of the many CVS Pharmacy stores nationwide, or they can receive their medications by mail.

“We’ve seen great share gain [with Specialty Connect],” Denton remarked during the event.

Denton also cited MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, as another tool showing excellent growth that is differentiating itself from competitors.

Other notes from Denton during the question-and-answer format included:

  • Regarding changes in the pharmacy benefit manager portion of the business, the market has changed dramatically during the past five years as $100 million worth of products has lost patent protection in this time.
  • CVS has experienced operational success regarding Medicare Part D. “Our platform is extremely stable,” said Denton. He added that adherence is very important in this space.
  • Likewise, the retailer has also enjoyed managed care plan success regarding Medicare Plan B.

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Bloomberg: Walgreens could sell additional assets to Fred’s

BY Brian Berk

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens Boots Alliance could be close to an agreement to sell more assets, including additional stores, distribution centers, software and personnel, to Fred’s Pharmacy in an effort to win Federal Trade Commission approval of its proposed agreement to acquire Rite Aid, according to Bloomberg, citing sources close to the talks.

“Walgreens could present the beefed-up package to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission within weeks, the [Bloomberg source] said, in hopes of satisfying the agency’s concerns after an initial proposal fell short,” the news outlet reported. It added that in addition to the FTC, at least a dozen states attorneys general had “scrutinized the deal.”

As part of the sweetened deal, Fred’s would also get the rights to the Rite Aid brand name for an extended period beyond the 24-month period outlined in the original deal, Bloomberg added in its report. “Senior Rite Aid executives could also move over to Fred’s, although exactly who and how many is still under discussion, according to the [source].”

Drug Store News reported one week ago that Walgreens was perhaps considering declaring it has “certified compliance” in its Rite Aid merger, forcing the FTC to vote on the proposed transaction in 30 days.

The proposed Walgreens-Rite Aid transaction was first proposed in Oct. 2015. Fred’s was already set to acquire at least 865 divested Rite Aid locations.

Wall Street reacted positively to this news, lifting the stocks of Fred’s and Rite Aid each by more than 2 percent during Tuesday afternoon trading. 

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Upsher-Smith, NASPA name annual Excellence in Innovation award winners

BY DSN STAFF
MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — Upsher-Smith Laboratories, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations and state pharmacy associations recognized more than 40 pharmacists across the country with the 2016 NASPA Excellence in Innovation Award. The award is presented every year to pharmacists for their contribution to the pharmacy profession.
“Upsher-Smith is proud to continue our tradition of sponsoring the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations’ Excellence in Innovation Award that recognizes the critical role played by pharmacists in advancing patient care,” said Rusty Field, president, Upsher-Smith Labs. “We are pleased to honor these leaders and innovators for their efforts in the pharmacy profession across the country, and we look forward to a future working together to continue to help improve the lives of the people we serve.
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