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CVS/pharmacy helping consumers with challenge of filling prescriptions on time

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy introduced Thursday a free program that automatically fills prescriptions for maintenance medications and calls the patient to remind them that their medication is ready to be picked up.

“It is very important for patients to maintain their medication regimen. Skipping medications for any reason can be risky and patients may end up comprising their health and having more costs in the long run. Patients should talk to their pharmacist about the best way to manage prescriptions, and simple tools like ReadyFill can help,” stated Papatya Tankut, VP pharmacy professional services for CVS Caremark.

Consumers must sign up to participate in the free ReadyFill program.

According to a new study from CVS Caremark, 28% of patients said they sometimes forget to refill their prescriptions on time, and this is despite the fact that most (86%) believe they can stick to a daily medication schedule. In addition, more than half (52%) said it would be useful if their pharmacy would remind them when it?s time to refill.

The 2009 CVS Caremark Health IQ Study, which examined consumer attitudes and behaviors around health care and prescription usage, found additional reasons why consumers may not be taking their medications and challenges to them filling prescriptions on time:

  • Many (43%) admit to simply having forgotten, on occasion, to take their medications.
  • 21% of women take five or more prescriptions each month and must remember to fill all of them on time.
  • 47% of women said they are more likely to forget to take their own medications than they are to forget to give medication to another family member.
  • 34% said they sometimes stop taking their medications if they feel worse while taking them.
  • 26% sometimes stop taking their medications if they feel better.
  • Some consumers (21%) admit to being careless about taking their medications as prescribed.
  • Younger consumers (ages 20 to 34) are more likely than others to report not taking their medications.

Medication non-adherence is a significant, often unrecognized risk factor that can contribute to poor health outcomes and escalate healthcare costs. It is estimated that non-adherence costs the United States $177 billion a year.

The online study was commissioned in April and conducted among 2,000 consumers who report taking at least one maintenance medication. Cooper Research, a health care research company in Cincinnati, conducted the study.

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Cardinal Health announces expansion of training resource, succession planning

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Cardinal Health late last month announced that it would add 14 new modules for its proprietary myPharmacyTrainer online training site, which helps retail pharmacies coach employees on how to deliver better patient care, improve business operations and increase sales.

The myPharmacyTrainer application invites pharmacy staff to interact with virtual patients – each with a unique health care need. By consulting with the patients and answering their questions in an interactive, video game-like environment, staff can quickly learn how to connect patients with pharmacy products and services for their specific needs, and how to improve store sales, productivity and profitability.

Since its launch in September 2008, nearly 2,000 retail pharmacies have used myPharmacyTrainer as a quick, convenient, on-demand training resource.

In other news, Cardinal Health also announced at its annual Retail Business Conference that it has expanded its succession planning and acquisition services for independent pharmacies.

Cardinal Health’s Transition Strategy and Management team can help independent pharmacists to determine the best timing to buy or sell a pharmacy, learn how to structure the sales transaction and understand what kind of additional outside counsel they need.

Since initially launching these services in October 2008, Cardinal Health’s Transition Strategy and Management team has worked with more than 125 pharmacists interested in buying or selling an independent pharmacy. Because Cardinal Health serves more than 5,000 independent pharmacies throughout the United States, the company is uniquely positioned to match potential buyers and sellers and to help develop acquisition and exit strategies that take into consideration the specific challenges these owners face.

“Cardinal Health understands that to many independent pharmacists, planning for the future of their businesses is much like planning for the future of their families,” said Jimmy Neil, VP Transition Strategy and Management for Cardinal Health. “It’s extremely important – but it can also be a complicated, lengthy and emotional process. Studies show that ownership of more than 60 percent of community pharmacies will change hands within the next 10 years, so we’re committed to making sure that independent pharmacies have all of the information and expertise they need to buy, sell or create a long-term exit strategy for their business.”

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Sandoz introduces immunosuppressant in U.S. market

BY Alaric DeArment

HOLZKIRCHEN, Germany A Swiss generic drug maker has introduced a drug for organ transplant patients in the United States.

Sandoz, the generics arm of Novartis, announced Tuesday the introduction of tacrolimus capsules in the 0.5-mg, 1-mg and 5-mg strengths, a generic version of Astellas Pharma’s Prograf. The drug is an immunosuppressant used to prevent rejection of transplanted livers and kidneys.

“Tacrolimus is an important new product for Sandoz, further strengthening our diverse portfolio of affordable medicines in the key U.S. market,” Sandoz CEO Jeff George said in a statement.

Prograf had sales of $929 million for the 12 months ended in April, according to IMS Health data.

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