PHARMACY

Diplomat Pharmacy sells compounding business to focus on specialty

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, Wis. — Restore Health on Thursday announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the compounding pharmacy assets of Diplomat Pharmacy. 
 
"Restore Health's dedication to providing personalized medicine echoes our strong commitment to patient care," Diplomat CEO and chairman Phil Hagerman said. "A seamless transition for our patients and our partners is of utmost importance and we believe Restore Health's comprehensive service solution will fully safeguard this change."
 
Diplomat's current compounding pharmacy services include the preparation of personalized medications for patients and compounding pharmacists who work with prescribers to customize a medication to meet a patient's specific health needs. The acquisition of Diplomat's compounding pharmacy assets by Restore Health enables Diplomat to continue their singular focus on specialty pharmacy, the companies stated. 
 
"Diplomat has been a respected competitor in pharmacy compounding for many years," said Murray Firestone, president of Restore Health. "It is, indeed, a privilege to continue to care for the patients and providers accustomed to Diplomat's exceptional service. Acquiring this book of business is another important step in our strategy to consolidate this sector-in-transition as compounding matures under increasing regulatory scrutiny and payor pressure."
 
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to service Diplomat's compounding patients and providers from the Restore Health platform," said Matt Wanderer, CEO of Restore Health. "Just as Diplomat and Restore have done for decades, we will continue building patient and provider loyalty, one consultation at a time."
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Half of adolescents are misusing their prescription meds

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, N.J. — Although prescription drug misuse is on the decline among adolescents, one in two patients tested between the ages of 10 and 17 years are not using their medications appropriately, according to an analysis by Quest Diagnostics. The analysis is based onon clinical lab testing performed by Quest Diagnostics laboratories as part of the company's prescription drug monitoring services. 
 
“The Quest analysis shows that while our nation is making great strides to curb drug abuse and misuse, we have a long road ahead before we can declare victory on the prescription drug epidemic,” stated Leland McClure, director, medical science liaison, Quest Diagnostics. “By every means of slicing the Quest test data — age, gender, geography and payer type — we observed significant patterns of misuse in our nationally representative database. This is troubling because it strongly suggests, using objective lab data, that there truly is no good way to predict which patient may abuse a prescribed therapy — everyone is potentially at risk.”
 
Drug misuse is defined as evidence, based on lab test results, that a patient is using or combining non-prescribed drugs or skipping doses in a manner that is inconsistent with the ordering physician's directions. Quest's prescription drug monitoring test services help to identify evidence of use of up to 26 prescription and illicit drugs, such as opioids and marijuana.
 
However, patients in the 10-17 years age group also showed the greatest improvement in appropriate prescription drug use compared to all other age groups over a four-year period. In 2011, 70% of adolescents tested by Quest Diagnostics showed evidence of prescription drug misuse compared to 52% in 2014. These findings align with research from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which revealed a decline in high school students' misuse of prescription drugs over the past two years.
 
The Quest Diagnostics Health Trends study, "Prescription Drug Misuse in America: Diagnostic Insights in the Continuing Drug Epidemic Battle," is based on an analysis of approximately 2.5 million de-identified test results on patients of all ages in 48 states and the District of Columbia. According to the analysis, the overall rate of prescription drug misuse for all ages was 53% in 2014, a decline of 16% relative to the rate of 63% in 2011. 
 
The study is available at QuestDiagnostics.com/HealthTrends.
 
Other key findings from the study:
 
  • All patients are at risk of prescription misuse. A high rate of prescription medication misuse (53%) was observed across all age groups and in both genders, as well as across patients enrolled in different types of health plans (Medicaid, Medicare and private payer);
  • The type of drugs misused varies by age. In adults 30 years of age and older, the two drug groups most likely to be misused, based on test results, were oxycodone and opiates. In children less than 10 years of age, amphetamines and opiates were most likely to be implicated in misuse. In patients 10-29 years of age, the leading drug groups associated with evidence of misuse were marijuana and opiates;
  • Some states and regions are curbing prescription drug misuse better than others. California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee all showed marked improvement in their inconsistency rates from 2011-2014. On a regional basis, the Mountain States and Great Plains states (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) had the highest inconsistency rate, at 61%, while New York and New Jersey together had the lowest inconsistency rate, at 41%; and
  • Patterns of drug misuse shift over the past four years. The percentage of patients who did not take their medications consistently, suggesting they are skipping doses, increased from 40% in 2011 to 44% in 2014. Additionally, 35% of patients tested in 2014 showed evidence of combining drugs without a clinician's oversight, compared to 32% in 2011, indicating heightened potential for dangerous drug combinations.
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Teva, IBM team to further develop Watson Health Cloud

BY David Salazar

JERUSALEM and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Teva and IBM Watson Health announced Thursday that the pharmaceutical company had been chosen as IBM’s first Foundational Life Sciences partner for the Watson Health Cloud. 

Teva will use the Watson Health Cloud — an open-source platform for physiciancs, insurers and other health and wellness professionals — as a preferred global tech platform and will use it as a way of designing solutions for patients with chronic conditions. The two companies will also create joint research team that will use big data and machine learning technology to develop therapeutic solutions and disease models.

“Teva is actively exploring the e-health evolution with a strong focus on fulfilling unmet and emerging patients' needs,” Teva Pharmaceuticals’ SVP and CIO Guy Hadari said. “The IBM Watson Health Cloud provides a strong foundation on which we can realize this vision.” 

Watson is a computing platform that can interact in natural language, process huge amounts of data and learn from each interaction by uncovering insights and patterns. Teva will work to expand Watson Health Cloud’s capabilities and develop solutions to issues like drug musuce and adherence by drawing nsights from existing data.

“By building on the Watson Health Cloud, we believe Teva will be in a unique position to put the best information and insights in the hands of physicians, care teams and patients, to empower treatment optimization for individuals and populations across the spectrum of acute and chronic conditions,” Hadari said. “Watson holds promise to provide Teva with better insights, real-time feedback and options for clinicians to consider to improve patient care.”

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