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FDA approves Mylan hypertension drug

BY DSN STAFF

PITTSBURGH — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a blood pressure medication made by Mylan.

The drug maker announced Friday the approval of valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide tablets in the 80-mg/12.5-mg, 160-mg/12.5-mg, 160-mg/25-mg, 320-mg/12.5-mg and 320-mg/25-mg strengths.

The drug, a generic version of Novartis’ Diovan HCT, is used to treat high blood pressure, or hypertension, in patients who can’t control their blood pressure with one drug or who are starting therapy and need multiple drugs.

Various versions of the drug had sales of $1.6 billion during the 12-month period ended in June, according to IMS Health.


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Packaged Facts: Private-label nonfood pet supplies realize gain

BY Allison Cerra

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Private-label sales continue to advance in the nonfood pet supplies market, according to a new Packaged Facts report.

"Pet Supplies and Pet Care Products in the U.S.," which tracked mass market sales of nonfood pet supplies, found that sales increased by just 1% during the 52 weeks ended in May, while private-label sales of such products experienced a 15% jump. This strong performance lifted the private-label share of pet supplies by two percentage points to 23%. The private-label share peaks with dog chews, holding at 42% of dollar sales.

The incursion of private label into nonfood pet supplies reflects a longer-term trend, the report noted. From 2003 to 2009, store brands steadily gained across nonfood pet supplies categories except cat litter, whose private-label share has held steady in the 14% range, a testament to the strength and deep advertising pockets of national brands in the category, Packaged Facts said.

For the full report, click here.

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Walmart/Humana: 21st century retailing grounded in 18th century economics

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — "It is not from the benevolence of the patient, the pharmacist or the payer that we expect our better health, but from their regard to their own self interest." While the somewhat-modified quote is ascribable to Adam Smith, an 18th-century economist credited with the invisible hand theory, the principle holds true: Solutions developed as a part of commerce are both more efficient and more sustainable because they benefit all involved. The patient gets cheaper goods and an incentive to shop healthy; Walmart gets a loyal base of patients/shoppers with the opportunity to sell more goods to them; and Humana gets a healthier group of covered patients that, if this deal delivers a tangible lowered healthcare cost, could cement a place for retail pharmacy as a core pillar in any healthcare offering. 

(THE NEWS: Walmart forges new pathway to wellness, challenges others to follow. For the full story, click here.) 

This may be a groundbreaking deal between a national retailer and a national healthcare company in both its scope and reach, but retail pharmacy market solutions driving patients toward better healthcare solutions already are out there. And you don’t have to look too hard to find them. Immunizations and the evolution of the retail clinic model are ready examples. And loyalty cards across the three largest retail pharmacies could be another prime example.

In fact, if the Walmart/Humana deal looks promising, it’s those loyalty card programs across CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens that will be drawing plenty of looks from other insurers, if they haven’t already. With CVS and Rite Aid you have established programs that collectively engage 95 million active cardholders. You have 15 years of consumer data with CVS’ ExtraCare card and two years of data with Rite Aid’s Wellness Plus. And while Walgreens is relatively new to the loyalty card scene, its Balance Rewards loyalty program launched just last week, the company has been piloting loyalty programs over the past several years.

And while these retail pharmacies aren’t in the supermarket business — technically speaking, Walgreens is certainly making the case for fresh food and better food offerings across its Well Experience and food oasis stores — they are in the healthcare business and may be better able to drive those tangible outcomes through improved compliance/adherence to drug regimens and established disease-state management programs. Walgreens and Rite Aid are already fielding healthcare advocates in the aisles to help patients access the healthcare information they need on the spot, either through their tablets or by pulling the pharmacist into the conversation. For that matter, so is regional operator Pharmaca, which also fields a loyalty card program, by the way.

You might even call it "The Retailization of Health Care." We did, in fact, call it just that. It’s the cover story for DSN‘s Aug. 27 issue, penned by Jim Frederick, and it’s a good read with pull-outs on how healthcare retailer MaxWellness is actively partnering with hospitals or how Sam’s Club is driving patient value through its optical care business. Frederick outlines several not-so-invisible market forces that are driving healthcare insurers in search of those more efficient, more sustainable solutions. 

It’s the future of pharmacy retailing as we see it. Do you agree?

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