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CVS/pharmacy renews drug collection program in recognition of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy announced on Thursday that it is marking National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Sept. 27 by renewing its community donation program to support local drug collection efforts by law enforcement.

In collaboration with The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, CVS/pharmacy has renewed its Medication Disposal for Safer Communities donation program, through which local police departments nationwide can apply to receive a drug collection unit to help their communities safely dispose of unwanted medications, including controlled substances. Launched last May, the program has awarded drug collection receptacles to more than 230 police departments across the country. New applications for these collection units are now being accepted at cvs.com/safercommunities.

"Police departments across the United States responded to our call for applications to receive a drug collection unit to help keep their communities safe, and we are pleased to renew the program this fall," said Josh Flum, SVP of retail pharmacy at CVS Health. "A permanent drug disposal solution in our local police departments is a tangible symbol of our commitment to preventing prescription drug abuse. We look forward to continuing to partner with our local police through this donation program and through collection events at CVS/pharmacy locations on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day."

"CVS Health is a steadfast sponsor of the Partnership's national Medicine Abuse Project, and our partnership to provide permanent collection sites is yet another example of their commitment to ending teen medicine abuse," added Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "This collaboration is already having an impact, adding much-needed and additional collection sites in communities nationwide, reducing the availability of prescription medicines that can be abused. We encourage local law enforcement agencies to apply for collection receptacles and everyone to properly dispose of unwanted medications by taking part in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Sept. 27."

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was established by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2010 to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means to dispose of prescription drugs, while educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. Since its inception, more than 4.1 million pounds of unneeded medications have been collected at National Take Back Day events. To find a nearby Drug Take Back collection site, visit dea.gov and click the "Got Drugs?" icon.

CVS/pharmacy is a long-time supporter of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and will host drug take back events managed by local law enforcement agencies at nearly 200 CVS/pharmacy locations across the country on Saturday. The company also is in the process of reviewing the new DEA rule effective this October that will increase the options people have to properly dispose of controlled substance medications in order to determine how its pharmacies can participate in the near future.

CVS/pharmacy's Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program and participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day are part of CVS Health's ongoing efforts to combat prescription drug abuse. Other efforts include:

  • CVS Health is the only pharmacy sponsor of the Medicine Abuse Project, a multi-year initiative of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids with the goal of preventing a half million teenagers from abusing prescription medication by 2017;
  • Working at the federal and state levels to implement policy changes to curb prescription drug abuse, such as mandatory electronic prescribing of controlled substances and improved prescription drug monitoring programs;
  • Supporting efforts to expand the availability and distribution of naloxone to prevent opioid overdoses, including state specific programs that allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription through a Collaborative Practice Agreement or Standing Order with physicians. All CVS/pharmacy stores in the state of Rhode Island have such an agreement in place and other state programs are expected to be added in the future; and
  • Ongoing identification of physicians who exhibit extreme patterns of prescribing high-risk drugs such as pain medications and suspending the dispensing of controlled substance prescriptions they write.

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J.D. Power study: Pharmacist, patient interaction increasingly important in pharmacy customer satisfaction

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Want satisfied pharmacy customers? Ensure that they have direct interaction and collaboration with pharmacists and implement an in-store clinic or wellness center. That’s according to the findings of the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Pharmacy Study released Thursday.
 
“For brick and mortar pharmacies, ensuring pharmacists are directly interacting with customers is one of the keys to delivering a satisfactory experience. For mail order pharmacies, it’s critical that customers have easy access to a pharmacist through such channels as a phone number that is easy to access and online chat,” stated Rick Johnson, director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power. “However, only 1-in-25 customers initiate a conversation with a pharmacist in a brick and mortar store, so it’s essential for staff to ask customers if they would like to speak with a pharmacist. In the mail order segment, just 1-in-10 customers interact with a pharmacist, and satisfaction is high among those who use the chat feature.”
 
According to the study, which was fielded between June and July 2014, overall satisfaction with chain drug store (840 on a 1,000-point scale), supermarket (843) and mail order (822) pharmacies increased in 2014 — up year-over-year by 12, 8 and 25 points, respectively — while satisfaction with mass merchandiser pharmacies (830) remained relatively even with 2013. The gap in satisfaction between brick and mortar and mail order remained stable year over year at 25 points. 

The importance of customers interacting with a pharmacist increased across the four pharmacy segments in 2014, the study showed. Satisfaction improves notably when pharmacists explain the potential side effects of medication to customers as well as costs they may incur. In brick and mortar stores, speaking with a pharmacist increases store spending.
 
Topics of conversations with a pharmacist and store staff that impact overall satisfaction the most are ensuring a continuous supply of medication; taking the time to clearly explain medications or costs; and providing customers with access to health and wellness care. 
 
Additional key findings — 
 
  • Having an in-store clinic or wellness center increases satisfaction with brick and mortar pharmacies by 42 points; increases the likelihood that customers will say they “strongly agree” that they feel loyal to their pharmacy by 6 percentage points; and leads to a larger basket of goods purchased in the store by 8 percentage points;
     
  • Pharmacist satisfaction is highest in the chain drug store segment (883), followed by the supermarket (877) and mass merchandiser (864) segments. Non-pharmacist staff satisfaction is highest among supermarket pharmacies (847), followed by chain drug store (841) and mass merchandiser (820) pharmacies;
     
  • Satisfaction is higher when a pharmacy and customer collaborate on a plan to help ensure that the customer does not miss a dose of their medication, particularly those with a 30-day supply. Across pharmacy segments, the percentage of customers who report running out of medication before they can refill it is 13% for chain drug stores; 14% for supermarket pharmacies; 15% for mass merchandisers; and 10% for mail order pharmacies;
     
  • Providing a thorough explanation of risks and side effects of medication across multiple communication channels, both in writing and verbally, reinforces the pharmacy-customer relationship in quality care and wellness. Brick and mortar stores meet this Key Performance Indicator 33% of the time; and
     
  • Customer interaction with a pharmacist impacts additional store purchases. Among customers who speak directly with a pharmacist in a chain drug store, 29% purchase an OTC medication and 59% purchase an additional non-pharmaceutical product to go with their prescription. More than one-fifth (21%) of customers indicate the pharmacist answered a cost related question.
 
Rankings
 
Among brick and mortar pharmacies, Good Neighbor Pharmacy (884) ranked highest in the chain drug segment; Sam’s Club (865) ranked highest in the mass merchandiser segment; and Publix (886) ranked highest in the supermarket segment. In the mail order segment, Kaiser Permanente Mail Pharmacy (865) ranked highest. 
 
The 2014 U.S. Pharmacy Study is based on responses from 13,951 pharmacy customers who filled a new prescription or refilled a prescription during the three months prior to the survey period. Customer satisfaction with brick and mortar pharmacies is measured across five factors: prescription ordering; store; cost competitiveness; non-pharmacist staff; and pharmacist. Satisfaction with mail order pharmacies is measured across four factors: cost competitiveness; prescription delivery; prescription ordering process; and customer service experience. The study is now in its seventh year.

 
 
 

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NACDS reflects, looks ahead on 30th anniversary of ‘Hatch-Waxman’ Act

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act, also known as the “Hatch-Waxman” Act, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores issued a statement to reflect on the evolution of providing patient access to generic medications and noted that it is looking forward to further progress in the years ahead.

“We laud the efforts of lawmakers such as Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., for their forward-thinking leadership in opening the door to make generic drugs more affordable and accessible for patients,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.  “As the landscape of the healthcare system has transformed in the last 30 years, generic drugs have long-surpassed the expected impact of how they would be utilized by patients.”

When enacted in 1984, it was projected that the legislation could save Americans $1 billion. Fast-forward to 2013, the Generic Drug Savings in the U.S. report, compiled by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, showed that generics saved $239 billion.

“Chain pharmacy is committed to helping patients obtain cost-effective healthcare. Looking ahead to the next 30 years, we need to continue to find ways to make prescription drugs more affordable for patients,” Anderson stated.

NACDS has long-promoted policies that facilitate patient access to cost effective medications, and continues to do so in the growing area of biologic drugs: 1) patients need greater access to the generic versions of costly biologic drugs, and 2) pharmacists in all states should have the ability to substitute approved interchangeable biosimilar medications.

NACDS noted that biologic drugs, which can drastically improve patient health, are highly expensive medications. Under legislation enacted in 2010, a drug approval process was created so the Food and Drug Administration can approve generic versions of biologic drugs — known as biosimilars — with the intent of providing patients with more affordable options for these types of products. NACDS stated that it continues to work with the FDA to urge the agency to adopt policies that will facilitate greater access to biosimilar medications.

In addition, state generic substitution laws were enacted decades ago, well before the approval pathway for biosimilars was conceived. As such, the language in these state laws does not recognize or accommodate the substitution of interchangeable biosimilar drugs. According to NACDS, this must be remedied so that pharmacists can substitute interchangeable biosimilar drugs consistent with existing substitution practices for other generic drugs, and continue to help patients and payors by controlling prescription drug costs and saving overall healthcare dollars.

“We look forward to working with our industry partners like the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and others, as well as the lawmakers and policy makers to continue building on the success of the ‘Hatch-Waxman’ Act in providing affordable access to generic medications for patients,” Anderson stated.

In commenting on the anniversary of the “Hatch-Waxman” Act, GPhA president and CEO, Ralph G. Neas, stated, “Today, the generic industry’s future could not be brighter. The Hatch-Waxman law created a strong foundation for a dynamic and evolving generic drug industry, and with emerging opportunities from a global marketplace, expanded health coverage access, and the needs of an aging population, the industry has never been stronger. As we look forward to the next frontier of affordable medicines, biosimilars, a recent study by Express Scripts estimates that hundreds of billions of dollars in savings are at stake. Over 10 years, the report showed, the United States would save $250 billion if just the 11 likeliest biosimilars would enter the market.”



Neas added, “We must embrace the spirit of the Hatch-Waxman law and build on its remarkable achievements. It is essential to recognize that balancing competition with access to affordable medicines can revolutionize the market, offer consumers quality and safe choices, and inspire innovation. ”
 

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