PHARMACY

FDA advisory panel recommends approval of Merck’s vorapaxar

BY Michael Johnsen

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Merck on Wednesday commended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee’s recommendation for approval of vorapaxar. Vorapaxar is the company’s investigational antiplatelet medicine for the reduction of atherothrombotic events, when added to standard of care, in patients with a history of heart attack and no history of stroke or transient ischemic attack.

“There are approximately 7.6 million Americans who have survived a heart attack. Each year, about 190,000 of them have a recurrent heart attack, so there remains a need for additional treatment options,” stated Daniel Bloomfield, VP cardiovascular diseases for Merck Research Laboratories. “The results of today’s Advisory Committee mark an important milestone in our effort to bring vorapaxar to appropriate patients with a history of heart attack. We look forward to working with the FDA as it completes its review.”

The FDA is not bound by the committee’s guidance, but takes its advice into consideration when reviewing investigational medicines, Merck noted. 

 

 

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CVS/pharmacy kicks off 2014 Project Health campaign

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy announced on Thursday the kickoff of its annual Project Health wellness campaign, which will deliver more than $15 million worth of free health services to multicultural communities across the United States in 2014.

During the months of January, February and March, more than 350 Project Health events will be held at select CVS/pharmacy retail locations in 15 markets across the United States, including Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, New York City, Philadelphia, Tampa and Washington, D.C. Project Health events also will be held at select CVS/pharmacy stores in Puerto Rico in March and April.

Project Health offers free health risk assessments, including blood pressure, body mass index, glucose and total cholesterol screenings. Children 7 years and older may participate in screenings with parental consent. Project Health events also will offer participants’ information on the new health insurance marketplace and their coverage options under the new healthcare law. Health insurance experts will be available at many events to provide guidance and support to those who need it, as they were during the Project Health events held in late 2013. Open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace closes March 31.

"Ninety percent of the people who attended our Project Health screenings in the fall told us they found the health insurance experts at these events to be extremely helpful. For that reason, we decided to offer this resource again in early 2014," stated Helena Foulkes, president of CVS/pharmacy. "We are focused on helping our customers make informed decisions about their health care and will continue to do so as the new healthcare marketplace is rolled out."  

Once screened, CVS/pharmacy will help patients through on-site consultations with bilingual (i.e., Spanish- and English-speaking) nurse practitioners or physician assistants who will analyze results and refer patients who require additional medical attention to no-cost or low-cost medical facilities nearby or to their primary care physician if additional follow-up care is necessary. CVS pharmacists will be available to conduct one-on-one medication reviews and answer any questions patients may have.

 

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Hamacher Resource Group enhances category management program to assist independents

BY Antoinette Alexander

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Hamacher Resource Group announced on Thursday that it has enhanced some of the strategies and deliverables of its core monthly category management program, Temps, with a focus on improving the front-end profitability of independent pharmacies.

In addition to introducing two new combination planograms, the company is incorporating even more actionable information in the monthly materials. Examples include breaking down merchandising steps into increments of time so the associate implementing the program can make their efforts most effective in the time available, and highlighting the top-performing subcategories so these sub-sections of the department are sure to receive attention, the company stated. The improvements to the Temps program is designed to help independent pharmacies streamline their front-end to include the SKUs that perform best in the channel and provide higher profit margins.

“We review the Temps program annually and make modifications based on customer feedback and what we’ve learned and observed in the industry,” stated Julie Bonnell, HRG director of operations and member of the owners group. “This year we proactively phone-surveyed our retailer, merchandiser and wholesaler customers, and we used their input to make these more widespread adjustments. We believe the changes, when executed, can positively impact an independent pharmacy’s bottom line.”

According to HRG research conducted in 2012, pharmacists rely on planograms to help manage their front of store. Collaborating with the Healthcare Distribution Management Association and other partners, HRG researched the independent pharmacy market, including interviewing shoppers, reviewing store POS data and surveying pharmacists.

 

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