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DrSN celebrates new mag targeting specialty Rx industry

BY Alaric DeArment

BOSTON Specialty Pharmacy magazine, which The Drug Store News Group introduced under a partnership with specialty pharmacy channel management organization Armada Health Care.—Around 100 industry executives gathered Aug. 10 for the official launch of the latest member of The Drug Store News Group of publications. The attendees, including some curious representatives of retail pharmacy chains, crowded into the Stone Room at the Westin Boston Waterfront for a reception to introduce

“When people outside of the business ask me what specialty pharmacy is, I try to keep the answer as simple as possible: I tell them it’s about patients with complex, chronic conditions; I tell them it’s about extremely complex, high-cost drugs,” Drug Store News editor-in-chief Rob Eder said in a speech at the reception. “And because of that, every single touch-point of the operation—managing the network, the utilization management, formulary management, sourcing the drugs, the buy and bill, the benefit design, the dispensing and fulfillment, the claims adjudication, etc.—all of it is more complex. So, that is our mission: to make a very complex business easier for the people who make their living in that business.”

Associate publisher Wayne Bennett noted the drug-development environment that has helped contribute to the rapid growth of specialty pharmacy. “Our new publication, Specialty Pharmacy, will add to the broad portfolio of pharmacy publications published by The Drug Store News Group,” Bennett said. “As three-quarters of all new drugs currently in the drug development pipeline are biotech products, and the market for these products will grow by $40 billion in just a few short years, Specialty Pharmacy will be the voice for all stake-holders in this rapidly growing area of pharmacy care. We also will be collaborating with Armada Health Care, who has led in providing innovative solutions to make the specialty pharmacy market work more efficiently.”

Specialty products—most of them biotech drugs—have experienced rapid growth lately, generating just under $60 billion in U.S. sales last year, Specialty Pharmacy reported in its inaugural issue, and growing by 8.8% year-over-year, compared with 4.4% for traditional drugs. Meanwhile, two specialty pharmacies—Swartz Creek, Mich.-based Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Commcare Pharmacy—made Inc. magazine’s list of the top 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States for 2009.

“My colleagues and I are very enthusiastic about our collaboration with Drug Store News to launch Specialty Pharmacy magazine,” said Lawrence Irene, CEO of Armada Health Care. “We are confident that this publication will become the media voice for this emerging segment of health care, while fostering a better understanding of the value proposition that specialty pharmacies offer to such key stakeholders as Pharma/Biotech, payers, prescribers and, most importantly, patients.”

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Stop & Shop to offer flu shots to customers

BY Allison Cerra

QUINCY, Mass. For more than twenty years, Stop & Shop has provided seasonal flu shots as part of its Health & Wellness initiative in a continuing effort to best meet the needs of its customersduring the cough and cold season. This year, Stop & Shop will offer seasonal influenza immunizations at a reduced price to Stop & Shop card holders in the pharmacy department beginning Sept. 11 through Nov. 26 or until quantities associated with this program last.

“As part of our continued commitment to provide value to our customers, Stop & Shop is offering seasonal flu shots for $20 when customers use their Stop & Shop card,” said Jim Wonderly, VP pharmacy operations for Stop & Shop. “Unfortunately, many Americans are foregoing medical care because of increased costs, and we want to do our part by offering affordable immunizations during these challenging economic times.”

Seasonal flu shots will be administered at a reduced price in most Stop & Shop stores starting Friday, expanding to all stores in October. Immunizations will be provided by certified and trained Stop & Shop pharmacists and through Stop & Shop’s partnership with Maxim Health Systems and their trained health care professionals. The cost of the seasonal immunization is $30, but customers with a Stop & Shop loyalty card can save an additional $10. Thus, the final cost to Stop & Shop customers, with the Card, is $20.

“Last month, we introduced millions of customers to the new Stop & Shop card along with a commitment to provide them with the best possible value,” said Stop & Shop EVP Jeff Martin. “With the savings Stop & Shop is offering on seasonal flu shots, we are demonstrating that ongoing value commitment as well as a commitment to the health and wellness of ourcustomers.”

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Louisiana seeks to curb methamphetamine abuse with new legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two government officials from Louisiana invited the National Association of Chain Drug Stores for a signing of a new law aimed at curbing methamphetamine abuse.

On Sept. 8, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Rep. Fred Mills invited NACDS, law enforcement and other select stakeholders to the Governor’s Mansion for a special signing ceremony for HB890 (Act 314). NACDS was instrumental in the negotiations and eventual passage of the new law which establishes a real-time pseudoephedrine reporting system once federal grants are secured.

The law also provides liability protections to pharmacy, and specifically states that no fees will be collected from pharmacies or pharmacists to operate or transmit the data to state police.

NACDS thanked both Gov. Jindal and Rep. Mills for initiating this important legislation, and for working with pharmacies to make it even better.

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