PHARMACY

CVS Health offers pharmacists, prescribers real-time benefit info for Caremark members

BY David Salazar

CVS Health’s pharmacy benefits manager will now offer real-time information about patient-specific medication costs, the company announced Tuesday. CVS Caremark will offer visibility of costs and lower-cost alternatives at point of prescribing and at the pharmacy in an effort to cut down on dispensing delays and improve patient outcomes, the Woonsocket, R.I.-based company said.

“Patients often do not find out that the medication they were prescribed is not covered or has higher than expected out-of-pocket costs until they go to the pharmacy to pick up their prescription, which can result in patients not filling a prescription, non-adherence and, ultimately, higher downstream health care costs,” CVS Health executive vice president and chief medical officer Troyen Brennan said. “Making detailed, real-time benefit information available for our PBM members and their health care team, whether it's the doctor or the pharmacist, can help streamline the patient experience and improve health outcomes while also lowering costs for both the patient and the payer.”

For pharmacists at CVS Pharmacy, the patient information will be integrated directly into the existing workflow to allow for pharmacists to discuss lower-cost alternatives with CVS Caremark patients based on their formulary coverage. It also will make requesting a prescription change from prescribers easier, the company said. Starting 2018, CVS pharmacists will be able to see a CVS Caremark patient’s out-of-pocket costs for their medication. CVS Health said that this would facilitate better alignment with the member’s plan design and help them work to share additional cost savings information with patients whose costs are still a concern.

“Across the CVS Health enterprise, we are focused on providing patients with the most convenient access to affordable medications, and this innovation enables us to provide our PBM members and their health care providers with direct, easy access to real-time benefit information throughout the health care continuum whether they are at their physician's office or at the pharmacy," CVS Health executive vice president and COO Jonathan Roberts said. “No one else provides this level of member-specific actionable drug benefit information across so many points of care, which can help simplify and streamline the process of getting a patient on the most appropriate and affordable therapy and increase member engagement and satisfaction with their care.”

The new real-time information offering will also offer prescribers better visibility of a drug’s cost based on a patient’s coverage, with the opportunity to review as many as five clinically appropriate branded alternatives or generics that are specific to a patient’s formulary coverage. Pharmacists will also be able to see formulary alternatives with the option to find lower-cost alternatives through Caremark.com set to roll out in early 2018.

CVS Health noted that the real-time benefit information was possible through a functionality from Surescripts and builds on the organization’s use of electronic health records to support MinuteClinic providers and CVS Specialty’s care management programs.

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PHARMACY

Takeda kicks off trial for Zika vaccine

BY David Salazar

Takeda Pharmaceutical is testing its Zika virus vaccine candidate, TAK-426, in a Phase 1 clinical trial. The Osaka, Japan-based company’s first trial for the vaccine comes 15 months after the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, awarded it a contract to develop it.

“We are pleased to reach this important milestone, which reflects our commitment to addressing the Zika threat, as well as the significant capabilities of Takeda’s global organization,” Takeda global vaccine business unit president Rajeev Venkayya said. “This progress could not have been possible without the ongoing support of, and collaboration with, BARDA.”

The World Health Organization notes that the virus has spread to more than 84 countries, territories or subnational areas, including the United States. Takeda said that initial data from the trial are expected in 2018, with the aim of beginning Phase 2 studies as soon as possible after if the data supports it.

Takeda said that in addition to its work on the Zika vaccine, it is undertaking vaccine programs to address such illnesses as dengue, norovirus and polio.

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Teva restructures, shuffles executive team

BY David Salazar

On the heels of its appointing a new CEO, Teva is restructuring itself and naming new executives in an effort it said would create strategic alignment across its portfolio, regions and functions and drive profits as it continues to face headwinds.

“Teva is taking decisive and immediate action to address external pressures and internal inefficiencies,” Teva president and CEO Kåre Schultz said. “Our new company structure will enable stronger alignment and integration between R&D, operations and the commercial regions, allowing us to become a more agile, lean and profitable company.”

Under the new structure, the global generics and specialty medicines groups will be integrated into a single commercial organization covering North America, Europe and growth markets. Each region will manage the entire portfolio from OTC to specialty and generic pharmaceuticals. Generic and specialty R&D wings also will be combined into a single global group responsible for all R&D across generics, specialty and biologics. The company also will have a newly formed Marketing and Portfolio function, which will oversee communication between regions, R&D and operations for all products. Teva said the new organizational structure would rely on a leaner infrastructure in its finance, legal, HR and global brand and communications

Along with the new organization, Teva has created a new executive team. The company has named interim CFO Mike McClellan as its executive vice president and CFO, named Hafrun Fridriksdottir — most recently chief commercial officer for global specialty medicine — executive vice president of North America commercial. The company’s European generics president and CEO Richard Daniell is now executive vice president of European commercial and Gianfranco Nazzi will move to the executive vice president of growth markets commercial position from his role as presient and CEO of Teva’s generic group’s growth markets division. Addtionally, Sven Dethlegs is now executive vice president of global marketing and portfolio, having most recently been global head of respiratory medicines and COO of Teva Global Operations.

“The new management team will position Teva for turnaround in the short to medium term. We are already working on a detailed restructuring plan for Teva and will share it in mid-December,” Schultz said. “It remains our absolute priority to stabilize the company’s operating profit and cash flow in order to improve our financial situation, while being focused on short-term revenue and cash generation, and at the same time, ensure we deliver on our commitment to supply high-quality medicines to patients around the world.”

With the structural changes, Michael Hayden, Rob Koremans and Dipankar Bhattacharjee will retire, effective Dec. 31.

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