PHARMACY

FDA approves Allergan’s Byvalson

BY David Salazar
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved Allergan’s Byvalson (nebivolol 5 mg and valsartan 80 mg) tablets, the company announced Monday. The drug is indicated to treat hypertension to lower blood pressure, and the company said it is the first fixed-dose combination of a beta-blocker and an angiotensin II receptor blocker in the U.S. 
 
“Achieving blood pressure control is critical to reducing the risk of serious and life-threatening cardiovascular events,” Allergan chief R&D officer David Nicholson said. “There remains a need for new therapies, as observed by the nearly half of patients in the U.S. who remain uncontrolled. We are pleased with the FDA approval of Byvalson, which will provide physicians a new fixed-dose combination therapy treatment option for patients affected by hypertension.”
 
Allergan expects Byvalson to be available in the second half of 2016. 
 
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Smart Messaging for Proactive Patient Engagement

BY Gina Acosta

Value-based care is driving a number of positive trends within the retail pharmacy sector.

To start with, providers, payers and patients alike are looking to pharmacists to become more collaborative partners in care. In addition, the increased demand for low-cost clinical services is opening the door to new revenue opportunities.
Retail pharmacies are in an ideal position to deliver better access to clinical services such as vaccinations, disease management and medication therapy management (MTM) at a lower cost. They are also primed to provide needed consultations to improve medication and care plan adherence.

The challenge is getting the right information streamlined into a pharmacist’s workflow to pave the way for proactive patient engagement. Although many any retail outlets have taken a step in the right direction and turned to solutions and services that assist with effective MTM efforts and patient education, there is more to be done.

Smart messaging, the process of leveraging current technology platforms to provide the patient with clear messaging at different points in the care process, can take outreach to the next level by giving pharmacists practical intelligence to prompt action. These solutions help pharmacists deliberately identify gaps in care and missed opportunities for wellness. Armed with actionable, point-of-care information, these professionals can then reach out and facilitate more tactical care conversations with patients.

Improving Outreach to High-Risk Patients
Smart messaging provides a framework especially well-suited for enhancing outcomes in high-risk patients. Building on pharmacy messaging solutions that speak to general patient safety concerns, smart messaging adds a new layer of sophistication by pulling data from multiple sources to increase clinical intelligence.

For example, consider one retail pharmacy pilot that is underway:

Data gained through a smart messaging platform automatically identifies patients with diabetes through past treatment history, no matter what medications they are picking up at the time. Once identified, the tool immediately triggers a medication check and confirmation that the patient is adhering to therapies. For example, the system could determine whether the patient is taking a statin—a critical component of diabetic care plans.

In such scenarios, the pharmacist can start a conversation with the patient to discuss any non-adherence issues and provide necessary education. A consultation with the patient’s doctor can also ensure that appropriate statin is ordered. Ultimately, smart messaging opens up a new way to engage patients along the care continuum.

Advancing Revenue Opportunities
Proactive outreach naturally lends itself to superior performance on the quality and cost fronts. In regard to Medicare Star Ratings, pharmacies that leverage smart messaging can assist payer networks in their efforts to identify and close gaps in care. In turn, the healthier patient population should lower medication spend, and allow payers to maximize reimbursement.

Pharmacies can also use smart messaging to identify revenue opportunities within their own clinical offerings. For instance, most people are eligible for a flu vaccination, but patients who might benefit from a shingles vaccination typically meet more specific criteria. Smart messaging can help pinpoint at-risk candidates, so pharmacists can be ready to suggest the offering during a patient interaction.

Smart messaging continues to evolve as an advantageous tool for elevating the clinical role of retail pharmacies. By getting the right information to pharmacists at the right time, it offers a powerful way to enable best practices for patient engagement.


Matt Landin is Senior Director of Product Management, Networks at Change Healthcare.

 

 

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CVS Health makes MMR vaccine available across 2 Arizona counties

BY Michael Johnsen
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – As Arizona public health officials work to stop the spread of a measles outbreak, CVS Health is offering measles-mumps-rubella vaccine at more than 140 locations to people living in Maricopa and Pinal Counties, the areas exposed to confirmed cases of the illness, the company announced Friday. 
 
"Immunizations are an important part of preventive care and a critical way to prevent the spread of serious diseases, like measles," stated Andrew Sussman, EVP and associate chief medical officer of CVS Health, and president of MinuteClinic. "Our CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners are ready to provide measles vaccinations to people living in Maricopa and Pinal Counties, and can help ensure that patients stay up to date on vaccinations in the future."
 
Both CVS Pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics in the area have vaccines available to protect patients against measles.
 
The MMR vaccine may be effective if given within the first three days after exposure to measles. It is important for anyone who has not been vaccinated to receive the MMR vaccine to ensure protection from future measles exposure.
 
Patients ages nine and older can receive the MMR vaccine at CVS Pharmacy locations. At MinuteClinic, nurse practitioners provide the recommended second vaccination to children 4-6 years old. 
 
The first dose, usually given at 12 months, is not available at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic. 
 
People are considered immune to measles if they have received two MMR vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine. Pharmacy and medical clinic staff can assist patients in determining whether the vaccine is covered by their insurance plan.
 
Measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 thanks to a highly effective vaccination program. Eliminated means that the disease is no longer constantly present in this country. However, measles is still common in many parts of the world, including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. 
 
Worldwide, an estimated 20 million people get measles and 146,000 people, mostly children, die from the disease each year. Every year, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers (Americans or foreign visitors) who get measles while they are in other countries. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk.
 
 
 
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