PHARMACY

Generic drugs comprise 63 percent of Part D market

BY Alaric DeArment

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. Generic prescription drugs now constitute 63 percent of the Medicare Part D market, a 50 percent increase from less than three years ago, according to a study released Monday by Wolters Kluwer Health.

The study shows a trend away from brand-name drugs and toward generics on the part of consumers.

The goal of the study was to measure the effects of the coverage gap on treatment decisions. The coverage gap is the period, with an average length of more than 100 days, when patients lose Medicare coverage and have to use their own money to pay for prescriptions.

Patients in the coverage gap are willing to continue using brand-name medications for the first 60 to 90 days, but the increase in the average length of the coverage gap has prompted many patients to switch to generics. Six percent of patients return to brand-name drugs upon leaving the gap, the study found.

“Wolters Kluwer Health has been tracking Medicare Part D prescription data since the program’s inception and we are now seeing a more pronounced shift away from branded medications towards generics,” said Bob Jansen, vice president of Managed Markets and Brand Analytics at Wolters Kluwer Health.

The study looked at a statistical sample of the 2006 and 2007 cohorts and assigned MPD patients into either low income subsidies or standard eligible groupings. MPD is part of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, meant to subsidize prescription drugs for more than 44 million Medicare beneficiaries.

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PHARMACY

ShopKo to open in-store clinics in Wisconsin

BY Antoinette Alexander

MADISON, Wis. Meriter, a provider of healthcare services, has teamed up with ShopKo to open two FastCare clinics in Madison in mid-October.

Meriter’s clinics, which will be located in ShopKo East and ShopKo West, will be staffed by nurse practitioners who can offer treatment for such acute ailments as pink eye, bladder infections and skin rashes. The n.p. can write a prescription, if needed.

“We’re very pleased to provide this service to residents, as well as visitors, to our community,” stated Geoff Priest, Meriter chief medical officer. “Providing quality health care that is convenient, both in hours and location, is very important to us at Meriter.”

Green Bay, Wis.-based Bellin Hospital, in partnership with ShopKo, started the FastCare concept. Since then, they have negotiated partnerships with other health care systems, including ThedaCare in Appleton, Aspirus in Wausau and Olmstead in Rochester, Minn. Others underway include Beaver Dam and one in Waukesha.

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Alnylam inks potential $93 million deal with Kyowa Hakko Kogyo

BY Drew Buono

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals has signed a collaborative deal with Kyowa Hakko Kogyo, that could be worth as much as $93 million, to develop and market the experimental respiratory drug ALN-RSV01, according to the Associated Press.

ALN-RSV01 is currently in midstage development for respiratory syncytial virus, which can cause severe lower respiratory infections, particularly in infants. Most of Alynlam’s pipeline, though, is still in the preclinical phase of development, with potential candidates for liver cancer, Huntington’s disease, pandemic flu, and cystic fibrosis, among others.

This is the company’s second recent deal. At the end of May, Alnylam signed a research partnership deal with Takeda Pharmaceuticals worth as much as $1 billion.

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