PHARMACY

Deloitte to launch PopulationMiner health-analytics system

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Deloitte plans to launch a data-mining system next month that it said would provide life-sciences organizations more access to the "front lines" of patient care and help them develop more personalized medicines based on clinical data more quickly and at a lower cost than before.

The company announced Wednesday the upcoming launch of PopulationMiner, a real-world data-analytics system for gleaning insights and relationships among drugs and diseases across broad patient populations over time and spanning several therapeutic and clinical areas. The system will draw on a large repository of clinical, financial and operational data stored in a warehouse that supports patient-outcome analysis, owned by Intermountain Healthcare.

"With the shift toward value-based, personalized care, it’s key for life-sciences decision makers to have deep insights into complex, real-world populations," Deloitte Consulting principal and Deloitte Health Informatics general manager Brett Davis said. "PopulationMiner enables a better understanding of health and disease by supporting population stratification and advanced analytics based on disease type, stage and comorbid combinations. With a few clicks, this platform can provide an unprecedented level of nuanced insights from millions of patients, leveraging informatics and clinical expertise form Deloitte and Intermountain Healthcare."

PopulationMiner may allow for the identification of biomarkers using laboratory test results and rapid hypothesis generation and validation across a range of business functions, including drug development, drug safety, pharmacoepidemiology and health economics and outcomes research.

"PopulationMiner aims to provide organizations with an integrated comparative analytics platform so that they can discover opportunities to dramatically enhance the quality of care delivery while reducing costs," Deloitte Consulting principal Scott Kolesar said.

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NCPA names Mark Riley president, passes several resolutions

BY Michael Johnsen

ORLANDO, Fla. — The independent community pharmacist members of the National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday approved resolutions addressing a range of pharmacy issues and elected a slate of leaders for the upcoming year during the House of Delegates session held in conjunction with NCPA’s 115th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition.

Mark Riley, was named NCPA president. Riley is currently EVP of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association and owns East End Pharmacy in Little Rock, Ark. He is also one of the country’s foremost experts on the pharmacy benefit manager industry, having served as a PBM executive, and has appeared on Capitol Hill numerous times as a subject matter expert on the complicated topic, NCPA noted. 

“We congratulate Mark on his appointment as president of NCPA,” stated NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey. “Mark is a distinguished leader known and respected by many independent community pharmacists. We thank him for all of his previous service to NCPA and for taking on this position. NCPA members are fortunate to have a world-class assembly of community pharmacy owners and pharmacists serving as officers to lead their trade association.”

NCPA members voted to approve the following resolutions for NCPA:

  • To encourage its members to engage self-insured employers in their communities to “make them aware that there are plan designs that are flexible, transparent, maximize cost savings and health outcomes, and are both pro-patient and pro-small business,” as opposed to arrangements that restrict patient choice, such as mandatory mail order;
  • To work with stakeholders across the independent community pharmacy industry “to promote existing resources and facilitate greater use of them to assist in the transfer of independent pharmacies from one independent owner to another;”
  • To address the inequity between large corporations that can pay effective tax rates that are far below those of small business community pharmacies, many of which are incorporated as S Corporations, NCPA should “advocate for a lowering of the effective tax rate for S Corporations or pass through entities as part of any congressional efforts to reform the nation’s tax code;"
  • To respond to the rise of specialty pharmaceuticals and specialty pharmacies by supporting a standard definition of “specialty” that is developed by the pharmacy profession and that is “not based primarily on pricing or other arbitrary standards that limit patient access.” The lack of a standard definition today may allow pharmacy benefit managers to arbitrarily categorize such drugs in order to maximize PBM profitability while limiting patient choice;
  • To support the right of community pharmacists to compound medications without restrictive regulations and under the continued oversight of individual state boards of pharmacy;
  • To promote policies and legislation that addresses alleged misuse by PBMs of maximum allowable cost drug reimbursement caps. Such policies and legislation should provide pharmacists and plan sponsors clarity into how MAC pricing is determined; establish a timely appeals process to resolve disputes; implement standardization as to how MACs are applied to certain medications; and require PBM disclosure to clients of the existence of multiple MAC lists as well as which, if any, MAC pricing is used in their mail order pharmacies; and
  • To examine possible solutions, including potential state and federal legislation, to ensure that third-party payers update their reimbursement on a real-time basis in order to pay pharmacies rates that reflect their cost of acquiring prescription drugs. In light of technology advances over the past decade, it is “outrageous and unacceptable that in the face of radically rising product prices, especially for generic drugs, payers are delaying drug price updates resulting in delayed drug reimbursement adjustments to pharmacies for weeks and even months.” 

“These resolutions speak to many of the challenges that independent community pharmacists face today as they try to continue serving patients,” Hoey said. 

In addition, Jeff Harrell joins NCPA’s leadership as fourth VP. He is co-owner of six pharmacies in Washington state, most of them located in the state’s southwestern Peninsula region, and all a part of Penninsula Pharmacies. Harrell managed an independent pharmacy in Seattle before returning to his native Long Beach, Wash., to become co-owner of Penninsula Pharmacies. He is a leading authority on technology innovations in pharmacy practice and a graduate of Washington State University, where he earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, NCPA stated.

Kristen Riddle was named fifth VP. She is president, director of clinical services for U.S. Compounding Pharmacy, a PCAB-accredited, compounding-only pharmacy located in Conway, Ark. She is also partner/owner in Adherence Model Pharmacy. Riddle is passionate about women’s health and is co-creator of the Rx Skin Therapy line of cosmeceutical skin care products available without a prescription. She earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, according to NCPA.

 

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Ritzman Pharmacies acquires five Mast Pharmacies locations

BY Michael Johnsen

WADSWORTH, Ohio — Ritzman Pharmacies and Mast Pharmacies on Monday announced the completed acquisition of all Mast-owned pharmacies to Ritzman Pharmacies.  

The Mast pharmacies previously operated under the name of Wooster Rx in Wooster, Ohio, and Mast Pharmacy in Berlin, Millersburg, Shreve and Sugarcreek, Ohio, but will be converted to Ritzman banners, the companies stated. 

"For 33 years, Mast Pharmacies has strived to always put the customer first. We are looking for this merger to provide the best for Mast customers and staff, continuing our tradition of customer service. I am confident that Ritzman will provide this," Rod Mast, owner of Mast Pharmacy, stated. 

"Mast and Ritzman are both locally owned businesses that share the same values, which makes this collaboration a natural fit," Eric Graf, Ritzman Pharmacies CEO, said. 

Mast indicated that ongoing changes in government regulations for pharmacies will require a greater need for administrative support to manage and assure compliance — Ritzman Pharmacies has the structure and personnel in place to handle new regulations.  

Mast will remain active in a consultative role with Ritzman Pharmacies, the companies noted.

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