PHARMACY

CVS Health expands health partnerships into Louisiana and Mississippi

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Health on Wednesday announced new clinical affiliations with Ochsner Health System in Louisiana and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, including their Center for Telehealth. 
 
"In this era of health care reform, we are pleased to work with these health care organizations to develop collaborative programs that enhance access to patient care, improve health outcomes and lower health care costs in the communities they serve," stated Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer, CVS Health. "By integrating our electronic medical records and information systems, we will collectively have a more comprehensive view of our patients, which can aid in health care decision making and help ensure patients adhere to important medications for chronic diseases." 
 
Through these clinical affiliations, CVS Health will provide prescription and visit information to the participating health care organizations through the integration of secured electronic health record systems. 
 
Affiliates' health care providers will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists to improve medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation also encourages collaboration between the health care providers and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Physicians affiliated with the participating organizations will collaborate with MinuteClinic practitioners to work closely on joint clinical programs and care coordination activities. 
 
MinuteClinic, CVS/pharmacy and the participating health care organizations will begin to work toward integrating EHR systems to streamline and enhance communication. This integration will include the electronic sharing of messages and alerts from CVS/pharmacy to the health care organizations' physicians regarding medication non-adherence issues. In addition, MinuteClinic will electronically share patient visit summaries with the patient's primary care physician when they are part of an affiliate organization and with the patient's consent. MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with one of these participating health care organizations via fax or mail, with patient consent. 
 
CVS/pharmacy currently has more than 7,800 retail pharmacy locations across the U.S. where CVS pharmacists provide counseling to patients to help them be adherent to their chronic disease medications. In addition, the company's retail clinic arm MinuteClinic plays an important role by providing patients with walk-in health care. There are more than 900 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics available at CVS/pharmacy retail stores. 
 
The new clinical affiliations announced here bring the total number of health system and health care provider affiliations for CVS Health and MinuteClinic to more than 50 major health systems and health care providers across the country. 
 

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PHARMACY

FDA approves first generic versions of Abilify

BY Ryan Chavis

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced approval for the first generic versions of Abilify (aripiprazole) tablets, an antipsychotic drug indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
 
The following companies been granted approval by the FDA to market generic aripiprazole: Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Hetero Labs, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Torrent Pharmaceuticals. 
 
“Having access to treatments is important for patients with long-term health conditions,” said John Peters, M.D., acting director of the Office of Generic Drugs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Health care professionals and consumers can be assured that FDA-approved generic drugs have met the same rigorous standards as the brand-name drug.”
 
About one percent of Americans have schizophrenia, the FDA said. Symptoms first appear in adults younger than 30 years of age and include “hearing voices, believing other people are reading their minds or controlling thoughts and being suspicious or withdrawn.”

Bipolar disorder — also referred to as manic-depressive illness — causes shifts in mood, energy and activity levels and can affect a person’s ability to perform daily tasks, the FDA stated. Symptoms can include periods of depression, increased activity and restlessness and impulsive behavior, among others. 

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Teva launches generic Abilify tabs

BY Ryan Chavis

JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical announced the launch of aripiprazole tablets in 2-, 5-, 10-, 15, 20- and 30-mg strengths in the United States. According to the company, the drug — a generic version of Abilify tablets — is used to treat schizophrenia as well as the acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder. 
 
Schizophrenia is a long-term illness that alters a person’s ability to think clearly, manage their motions and make decisions, Teva stated, adding that one percent of Americans live with the illness. People dealing with schizophrenia may experience such symptoms as hallucinations, trouble with thinking and concentration and lack of motivation.  
 
Bipolar I is characterized by manic or mixed episodes where a person experiences extreme irritability or euphoria. According to Teva, it’s the most severe form of the illness because of the extreme manic episodes associated with it. 
 
“Our commitment at Teva is to make affordable, high-quality generic medicines available to millions of patients every day. We are pleased to launch generic Aripiprazole tablets and offer a generic treatment for patients suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder,” said Siggi Olafsson, president and CEO, global generic medicines for Teva.
 
Abilify tablets are marketed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical. The drug had annual sales of $7.8 billion in the United States as of December 2014, according to IMS data. 

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