PHARMACY

FDA rejects application for additional use of Risperdal

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. The Food and Drug Administration has rejected an application from Alkermes and Johnson & Johnson for approval of an additional use of the drug Risperdal Consta (risperidone), Alkermes has announced.

The FDA said in its response that it would need additional information before approving Risperdal Consta as an adjunctive maintenance treatment to delay mood swings in patients with frequently relapsing bipolar disorder.

 Alkermes said J&J is evaluating the FDA’s letter and will work with the agency to resolve the issues.

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Independent pharmacy group NCPA unveils marketing center for members

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Adding to a growing arsenal of services to help small business owners who operate independent pharmacies, the National Community Pharmacists Association today unveiled a new program in partnership with Pharmacy Development Services to help them compete more effectively.

The new NCPA/PDS Marketing Solution Center will provide independent pharmacy owners with marketing strategies, tools and resources “to stay ahead of the competitive curve and effectively reach new and current customers,” NCPA announced. It will be operated by Pharmacy Development Services, a pharmacy marketing and business development company. 

The Solution Center is a web-based marketing tool, according to PDA. It’s designed to help pharmacies increase sales from their existing customers, attract new shoppers, and track and measure their advertising.  

“As independent pharmacy owners, sometimes we spend more time working in our businesses than working on our businesses to help them grow,” said NCPA president Holly Henry. “I’ve worked with PDS for years and I’m glad to say they’ve given me the freedom to step back and market my business and see great success.” 

NCPA said the new offering is part of a membership campaign launched in June, with the goal of reaching every independent pharmacy owner in the U.S. The center is part of the association’s recently announced Ownership Academy, a resource for NCPA members in all phases of community ownership.

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Take Care Health Systems receives full certification for in-store clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOCKEN, Pa. In yet another nod to the convenient care industry’s commitment to quality patient care, Take Care Health Systems has received from the Jefferson School of Population Health full certification for its in-store clinics.

Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens and currently manages 328 clinics in 35 markets and 19 states, received full certification with exceptional performance noted in the areas of quality monitoring, quality of care, patient referrals to primary care providers and usage of electronic medical records.

This achievement serves as further evidence that the convenient care industry is dedicated to providing access to quality health care. In 2006, MinuteClinic, which owned by CVS Caremark, became the first to achieve accreditation for its retail sites from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. JCAHO is the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including hospitals, hospice services, nursing homes, laboratories, rehabilitation centers and behavioral healthcare organizations. 

“The convenient care industry continues to break new ground in the areas of healthcare access, quality of care and medical record technology,” stated David Nash, dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health. “I believe this certification [of Take Care Health Systems] will allow for continued innovation, ultimately leading to better health outcomes for the entire population.” 

In March 2007, CCA’s board of directors adopted 10 Quality and Safety Standards with input from national medical, nursing and accrediting organizations, as well as its Clinical Advisory Board. The association contracted with the Jefferson School of Population Health to administer the member certification program because of its expertise in the evaluation of health policies and systems. 

Certification focused on the existence of written policies and procedures that conform to CCA’s standards for quality and safety. Ongoing certification processes will continue to verify the implementation and execution of these policies. 

“This is the final step in formalizing standards Take Care Health Systems have aligned with for two years,” stated Hal Rosenbluth, president of Walgreens Health and Wellness Division; chairman, Take Care Health Systems and inaugural president of the CCA. “Since day one, it has been our goal to provide the highest-quality of patient care possible. We?re extremely proud of the certification from an institution as prominent as Jefferson.” 

Added Sandy Ryan, chief nurse practitioner officer, Take Care Health Systems and CCA Clinical Advisory Board chair, “This certification reflects the industry’s continual commitment to providing the highest quality of care for patients across the country, particularly through a focus on innovative new medical technologies such as EMRs.” 

Ryan noted how Take Care Health, through the use of its EMR system, has built a national electronic network between its clinics to track quality, trend data and help increase outcomes by providing information to continually enhance its programs. 

Since opening its first clinic in November 2005, Take Care Health has treated more than one million patients, with an overall patient satisfaction rate of 92%. 

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