PHARMACY

FDA approves generic cancer drug

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of a cancer drug in a move that the agency said would help relieve shortages.

The FDA announced the approval of Sun Pharma Global’s doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome injection, a generic version of Johnson & Johnson’s Doxil. The drug is currently on the agency’s list of drugs experiencing shortages.

"The agency is committed to doing everything we can to address drug shortages so that patients can get the medicines they need when they need them," FDA director of drug shortage staff Valerie Jensen said. "For the past year, the FDA has been working to ensure that supplies of doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome injection were not interrupted."

In February 2012, the agency allowed temporary, controlled importation of a version of the drug made abroad.


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CVS expands ExtraCare loyalty card program to reward customers for filling prescriptions

BY Alaric DeArment

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has launched what it called the "latest evolution" of its ExtraCare loyalty card program.

The chain announced Monday the launch of the ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program, which allows members to earn larger and more frequent rewards when filling prescriptions or making healthy decisions, as well as providing another choice for members and giving them the ability to opt-in to parts of the program most relevant to their needs and preferences.

Participants in the program earn $5 ExtraBucks Rewards for every 10 prescriptions filled, and the new program is intended to provide positive reinforcement to customers on an individual basis for refilling their prescriptions and remain adherent to prescribed therapies. They also get credit and earn rewards for things like getting immunizations and proactively managing their prescriptions with resources like text message alerts and email refill reminders.

"Pharmacy is the heart of our business, and we know how important it is to help our customers manage multiple prescriptions and adhere to their medication therapy," CVS/pharmacy SVP and chief marketing officer Rob Price said. "This new program expands the ExtraCare rewards customers love, encouraging our customers to more proactively manage their overall health. Additionally, by providing individual opt-in enrollment, we further customize ExtraCare to provide more personalized value to our customers."

Customers can sign up at any CVS/pharmacy store or on the company’s website, and each person who joins can earn up to $50 Pharmacy & Health ExtraBucks Rewards per year.

 

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Wasson touts pharmacists expanding role in NACDS conference speech

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — To put Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson’s speech at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Regional Chain Conference on Monday into perspective, one may consider that pharmacists today are the leading providers of immunizations and vaccinations, whereas five years ago, they weren’t involved at all.

Wasson, NACDS’ current chairman, focused on the themes of innovation and engagement, citing immunizations and vaccinations as examples that "people are ready for community pharmacy to take on a greater role."

"Consumer demand is pushing us to drive and accelerate the role community pharmacy plays in health care," Wasson said, noting the NACDS’ advocacy role and its fostering of collaboration and innovation among members. "And our nation’s need for new, innovative solutions to help solve our healthcare crisis is what’s pulling our industry to step up."

As part of this, Wasson said, the NACDS should pursue a regulatory change under Medicare Part D to have pharmacists recognized as providers while promoting NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill, which takes place March 13 to 14. NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association issued a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Monday calling for the change, saying it would expand the role of pharmacists and facilitate the services they provide under emerging healthcare models, such as accountable care organizations.

Wasson also promoted the NACDS Total Store Expo, which will take place Aug. 10 to 13 in Las Vegas. "This is the first time we are bringing all aspects of the business together under one umbrella," Wasson said. "I can tell you, at NACDS Week in New York City in December, suppliers were very excited."

During remarks in the morning, conference chairman David Cippel, president of Klingensmith’s Drug Stores, said, "NACDS said it would continue to innovate the Regional Chain Conference to ensure it stays on the cutting edge of member service. I don’t know about you, but I think this conference program has emerged as one of the strongest yet. I also want to recognize that NACDS has done a wonderful job in ensuring that we — the regional chains — have a home at the very exciting NACDS Total Store Expo."

Cippel said about half the chains at the Regional Chain Conference were already registered for the Total Store Expo, and 80% of exhibit space had already been claimed by suppliers.


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