PHARMACY

CVS-Target deal to create 80 retail clinic locations

BY Lesley Thulin

NEW YORK — CVS will secure 80 retail clinic locations as part of the Target pharmacy acquisition announced on Monday, according to Kalorama Information.

Target will rebrand its nearly 80 medical clinic with CVS’s MinuteClinic banner. It will also build another 20 clinics in stores, expecting to operate 1,500 by 2017.

"This might be an underreported detail in a deal of this size, but we think it's significant," Kalorama Information Publisher Bruce Carlson said.

There are several benefits to CVS’s expansion into indirect revenue clinics.

“They [CVS] now get new locations without the build-out, they get a new venue for new clinics, and they have a chance to turn the Target clinic operation into a consistent national brand that consumers can identify," he said.

Carlson expects the clinics’ transparency of pricing and convenient locations to appeal to customers.

CVS will have access to more than half of the 1 billion-dollar retail clinic services market, outpacing Walgreens, The Little Clinic, RediClinic and other small providers.

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PrescribeWellness, McKesson AccessHealth team up to improve patient adherence

BY Antoinette Alexander

IRVINE, Calif. — PrescribeWellness, a provider of technological solutions to elevate the community pharmacist’s role in providing preventative healthcare services, has inked a strategic partnership with McKesson.

With this partnership, AccessHealth members will have access to PrescribeWellness’ medication synchronization software tool, StarWellness.

“We are very excited about our partnership with PrescribeWellness,” stated AccessHealth VP/GM, Kevin Connor. “The capabilities that the PrescribeWellness tool brings to independent pharmacy, particularly the StarWellness solution, are key to positioning our members and our network to be seen as top clinical performers."

“PrescribeWellness is thrilled to partner with McKesson AccessHealth to improve both efficiency of their members and the medication adherence of their pharmacy patients,” added Al Babbington, president and co-founder of PrescribeWellness. "Through our selective, strategic partnerships with the leading associations in the retail pharmacy industry, we’ve quickly established ourselves as the No. 1 resource in helping members improve customer engagement and patient adherence. Our partnership with McKesson Corporation reinforces that point. We are looking forward to working with their pharmacies.”

PrescribeWellness’ software is designed to make it easier for members to build customer loyalty and provide extended services such as appointment-based medication delivery. PrescribeWellness solutions also aim to improve a patient’s medication adherence and the pharmacy’s Star Ratings.

The pharmacy industry is rapidly shifting with an increase of narrow networks and a growing importance on clinical performance as a consideration for network access. AccessHealth continues to evolve in this shifting market by providing its members with the tools needed to help improve their clinical performance and ultimately better position their members for network inclusion in the future, the companies stated.

"Pharmacy reimbursement models are continuously evolving. Community pharmacy’s ability to provide solutions that help their patients improve their health and improve their scores across an increasing number of performance measures is a key to their survival.” added Tony Thuyen, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of PrescribeWellness. “Unifying thousands of AccessHealth member pharmacies under one platform provides a significant voice to a variety of stakeholders and provides AccessHealth with a powerful message as they work with their PBM partners on future network inclusion, evolving reimbursement models, and new revenue opportunities."

Additional details on the partnership will be available at the McKesson ideaShare Conference on June 24 to 28 at the San Diego Convention Center.
 

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GPhA’s Neas criticizes FDA for GDUFA delays

BY Lesley Thulin

WASHINGTON — Ralph Neas, president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, issued a statement Monday criticizing the FDA at the organization’s public meeting on the Generic Drug User Free Act.

“It is industry opinion that the FDA is falling short of meeting its commitment to GDUFA goals, resulting in decreased access for patients and billions of dollars in lost savings,” Neas said.

As the GDUFA nears its Sept. 2017 expiration date, the FDA is holding a hearing regarding re-negotiations. The GDUFA aims to provide widespread access to generic drugs and cut down on industry costs, according to the FDA’s website. It requires industry to cover user fees in order to “supplement the costs of reviewing generic drug applications and inspecting facilities.” 

GDUFA is also designed “to reduce a current backlog of pending applications, cut the average time required to review generic drug applications for safety, and increase risk-based inspections.”

But with a generic drug application backlog of 4,000 and counting, the average time for reviewing applications is only increasing. The median review time has steadily increased from 30 months when GDUFA began in 2011. From FY2012 to FY2015, it rose to 31, 36, 42, and 48 months, respectively.

These delays “contribute significantly” to rising health care costs and affect millions of patients’ access to pharmaceuticals, Neas added. Industry experts estimate that the U.S. health care system lost more than $3 billion in savings due to first generic approval delays over the last year and a half.

“Millions of patients, businesses, taxpayers, prescribers, dispensers and others deserve better from the FDA,” Neas said.

In light of this lag, Neas said it was “especially confounding” that the FDA still has $277 million in unused funds from the generic industry, pointing out that these funds “could be applied to site inspections or approvals.”

Neas said he hopes the FDA will improve communication between the agency and manufacturers. 

“Without more meaningful transparent correspondence, generic manufacturers are unable to plan for the critical steps in the market entry processes,” he said.

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