PHARMACY

FDA approves Novartis’ Promacta for pediatric use

BY David Salazar

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — Novartis announced Friday that the Food and Drug Administration had granted approval to its drug Promacta (eltrombopag) to treat children 6 and older for chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). 
 
The drug is a daily oral treatment for ITP, an illness in which the patient has a low blood platelet count for more than six months, putting them at increased risk of significant bleeding. Promacta was approved for adult use by the FDA in 2008
 
“Today’s FDA approval of Promacta for children with chronic ITP, a rare and potentially serious blood disorder, gives new hope to patients and their families,” Novartis Oncology president Bruno Strigini said. “All patients are important, but when we can help children, we are especially gratified. This approval underscores our expertise in benign hematologic disease and our commitment to provide treatments for rare diseases.”
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Walgreens reports positive outcomes for BRhc participants

BY David Salazar

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens released a white paper Thursday showing the efficacy of its Balance Rewards for healthy choices (BRhc) program in terms of weight loss and adherence to diabetes and hypertension medication. Launched in 2012, the program, which has over 800,000 users as of April, gives users Balance Rewards points for logging blood pressure or weight loss, tracking daily activity and setting achievable goals. 
 
According the white paper, a 2014 study of 100,000 users found that all of the 6,198 users who logged their weight lost an average of 3.3 pounds over six months, with 27% losing more than six pounds and 16.5% lost over 10 pounds. Those who logged at least a mile daily lost about 3.7 pounds on average. 
 
Beyond weight loss, the BRhc program also seems to help medication adherence, with those who tracked their blood glucose through BRhc adhering to their diabetes treatment at 82.9% about five points higher than the 77.% adherence for those who didn’t track their blood glucose through BRhc. Additionally, those who logged more than a mile of walking every day were 7.9 percentage points more adherent (86.4%) than those who didn’t. 
 
Regular use had similar effects on participants taking hypertension medication, with those who tracked their blood pressure adhering slightly more than those who didn’t—81.7% versus 79.1%. A similar adherence increase was found between those who logged more than a mile per day (81.5% adherence) and those who did not (79.1% adherence). 
 
“These exciting results demonstrate how an easy to use wellness program that integrates incentives, like Balance Rewards for healthy choices, drives engagement and positive behavioral change — this creates a more enjoyable experience for participants that ultimately leads to better health outcomes,” Walgreens’ chief medical officer, Harry Leider, said.  “The results also underscore the program’s value for health plans, employers and other payers.  It’s a big step toward reducing health care costs when you can effectively promote more active lifestyles among members in a cost-effective manner.”
 
With some 250,000 devices and apps like FitBit and MapMyFitness connected to the BRhc program, the company is working to expand the ways in which users participate. 
 
“We want our customers to enjoy a seamless and convenient user experience, and bringing this selection of connected devices together in one easy to find portal furthers that goal,” Walgreens divisional VP, digital health Adam Pellegrini said.“Our BRhc partners share our vision of encouraging healthy lifestyles and behaviors.  As we approach 1 million customers enrolled in BRhc, we’ll continue to find innovative ways to bring the program to more people through more channels.” 
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Ateb forms Community Pharmacy Advisory Board

BY Antoinette Alexander

RALEIGH, N.C. — Ateb, a provider of pharmacy patient care solutions, has announced the formation of its inaugural Community Pharmacy Advisory Board, comprised of pharmacy leaders who will serve as an “internal institute” within the Ateb organization.

The group will address industry issues and position community pharmacy partners as industry leaders in delivering coordinated, quality patient care and driving healthier outcomes. By identifying and understanding key challenges, Ateb and the CPAB will work to develop solutions to allow independent community pharmacies to improve patient engagement, optimize medication use, streamline overall pharmacy management and leverage value-based opportunities to create and expand new revenue streams.

Ateb and the CPAB will analyze the collective findings to increase the awareness and adoption of innovative care solutions, allowing pharmacies to transform to an appointment based model and improve the quality of patient care to benefit patients, pharmacies, and payers. Ateb will use the insights provided by CPAB members to make business decisions to enhance the development of strategic solutions in order to meet the future needs of the community pharmacy.

Through a collaborative approach, Ateb and the CPAB will offer a platform where pharmacists may exchange experiences, best practices and ideas with their peers that will effectively increase their business optimization and improve their pharmacy operations.

Ateb’s Community Pharmacy Advisory Board consists of 23 members, and features a mix of community pharmacy partners and Ateb’s executive team.  The CPAB held its first meeting in May at Ateb’s headquarters in Raleigh.

Community pharmacy partners comprising the inaugural CPAB:
Darran Alberty – D&H Drugstore
Tanya Alberty – D&H Drugstore
Amy Baloh – Hometown Pharmacy
Jana Bennett – Medicine Shoppe Pharmacies 306 and 708
Tim Clark – Clark’s Rx Pharmacy
John Coler – Shrivers Pharmacy
Sammy Elayan – Hayat Pharmacy
Omar Eliwa – Hayat Pharmacy
Bob Lomenick – Tyson Drug Co.
John Nord – Nords Pharmacy and Gifts, Thrifty White Affiliates
Bill Osborn – Osborn Drugs
Dared Price – Graves Drugs
Lance Wheeler – Medicap 8290
Jarred Witt – Owens Healthcare
Tim and Nora Wright – Wagner Pharmacy
Hashim Zaibak – Hayat Pharmacy                      
 
The following members of Ateb’s executive team will serve on the CPAB:

Frank Sheppard, president and CEO
Debbie Sheppard, VP, sales and marketing
Rebecca Chater, executive healthcare strategist
Mark Gregory, VP, healthcare solutions
Ken Monroe, partner coaching and consulting
Mike Cantrell, VP, pharmacy network development
Robbert Ayshford, VP, strategic solutions
 

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