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DrSN to debut publication aimed at specialty pharmacy

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK —A segment of pharmacy worth almost $100 billion and expected to more than quintuple in size within the next 20 years will soon get new media coverage.

The Drug Store News Group, in affiliation with Armada Health Care, plans to launch Specialty Pharmacy magazine in August to cover the rapidly growing area of pharmacy. The magazine will be published on a quarterly basis starting next January. It is the latest addition to the Drug Store News Group of publications, which also include the flagship magazine, as well as Retail Clinician, Pharmacy Tech News, Pharmacy Practice and electronic media.

Specialty pharmacy targets chronic conditions that require complex therapy regimens tailored to individual patients and that often demand expensive biotech drugs administered by injection. While patients with such diseases as HIV, AIDS, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis once had to be treated in a hospital, specialty pharmacy allows them to obtain treatment at clinics or at home.

“The $70 billion to $80 billion specialty pharmacy market, which is being fueled by a rapidly expanding pipeline, is forecast to grow to more than $500 billion in the next 15 to 20 years,” stated John Kenlon, Drug Store News Group publisher. “Specialty Pharmacy is a new informational resource created exclusively for the industry executives and pharmacy professionals who are leading the way.”

In 1990, there were 10 specialty pharmaceuticals on the market. By 2010, that number is expected to reach 500, with 2,000 more in various stages of development. According to pharmacy benefit manager Medco’s 2009 “Drug Trend Report,” specialty drugs accounted for 60% of drug spending growth, while IMS Health rankings of the top 15 drugs by U.S. sales include such specialty medicines as Amgen’s cancer drug Neulasta (pegfilgrastim), Johnson & Johnson’s cancer drug Remicade (infliximab) and the rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis drug Enbrel (etanercept) by Amgen and Wyeth.

“From one end of the pipeline to the other, the specialty pharmacy marketplace is driven by innovation,” said Lawrence Irene, Armada Health Care CEO. “We are proud to work with Drug Store News to launch Specialty Pharmacy. Together, we will help to further educate the pharmacy industry about the people, programs and potential that are moving this market forward.”

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Kroger declares quarterly dividend

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 9 cents per share to be paid on Sept. 1 to shareholders of record at of the close of business on Aug. 14.

Kroger, one of the nation’s largest retail grocery chains, employs more than 326,000 associates, who serve customers in 2,475 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states.

On Thursday, the company announced that its president and COO Don McGeorge was retiring. McGeorge has been replaced by W. Rodney McMullen.

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Walgreens to test diabetes care model

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Walgreens continues to flesh out its revamped strategy to be the nation’s most convenient and accessible provider of pharmacy and health-and-wellness services.

 

The latest plank in that platform is its plan to test a pharmacy-driven outreach and support program for patients with diabetes.

 

Diabetic-care services and product presentations are nothing new in the nation’s chain and independent drug stores; every pharmacy leader knows that diabetes is a major, (often undiagnosed) health challenge and a “gateway” disease that usually subjects its sufferers to a slew of other related conditions involving the circulatory system, the skin and other organs. It’s also no secret that diabetics generate far more in annual drug store sales to treat these related conditions.

 

What makes Walgreens’ pilot program worthy of notice are two things.

 

 

First, with some 6,800 retail pharmacies, 350 in-store and worksite clinics and a network of specialty pharmacies across the United States, the company wields enormous potential power in the healthcare marketplace. If it expands its fledgling diabetes pilot beyond the test stage, it has thousands of “points of care” through which it could offer diabetes support programs and other disease management offerings. It’s a huge potential resource to offer diabetic patients and their employer-based or government-sponsored health plans, not to mention those patients’ overburdened, time-constrained primary care doctors.

 

 

Second, Walgreens is very deliberately positioning its diabetes care offering as a part of a much broader, integrated healthcare platform that links patients in the program to all the company’s health-and-wellness capabilities, said Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson. And it dovetails neatly with the Obama administration’s call for “more preventive care and better access,” in the words of Walgreens’ top manager.

 

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