PHARMACY

Good Neighbor Pharmacy operators equipped for future of pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — Good Neighbor Pharmacy highlighted a lot of good news at its ThoughtSpot 2015 earlier this summer, such as how the winds of change are whipping up the need for a patient-focused pharmacy model that supports an outcomes-based patient management solution. And that bodes well for Good Neighbor Pharmacy members, who are already patient focused and primed to deliver those best-in-class health outcomes.

“The last few years, we’ve really worked side-by-side navigating the dramatic changes in health care, changes like the CMS Star measures and how they’re going to [emphasize] preferred networks and increase the importance of medication therapy management,” Bob Mauch, Executive Vice President and President of AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, told ThoughtSpot attendees. “We’ve talked about the opportunity this presents for independent community pharmacy because you’re already patient-minded. You’re already focused on the patient, and now the good news is that becomes increasingly important from a financial impact standpoint.”

However, the dramatic changes in health care have created a new paradigm where being intensely patient focused may not be enough. To move the needle on the CMS Star ratings and to become a relevant partner in many of the emerging preferred networks, community pharmacists need to be on the top of their game in every aspect of retail pharmacy operations and administration. 

“The healthcare system is moving toward an outcomes-based reimbursement system,” Mauch said. “Independent pharmacists are particularly equipped for this because they spend a lot of time with their customers. They’re uniquely positioned to improve outcomes, [but] we all have to work harder to help measure that.”

Though independent pharmacists are well equipped to handle the patient care end of the business, managing the tasks of marketing and merchandising, inventory, labor and reimbursements can prove daunting at times.

“For the independent community pharmacy, they have a bit of a paradox at times,” added Dave Neu, Executive Vice President Retail Strategy at AmerisourceBergen and President of Good Neighbor Pharmacy. “They’re trying to operate and keep that entrepreneurial independent feel. It’s very important,” he said. “The other piece is that they need the leverage and the scale of the things that their competitors, the chains for example, bring — back-room functions, support on advertising and promotion … and it’s tough for them to get at some of that infrastructure.”

To that end, Good Neighbor Pharmacy launched a number of enhancements at ThoughtSpot 2015 that enable participating owners to operate efficiently within this new paradigm without sacrificing the kind of patient care that Good Neighbor Pharmacy members are known for providing. And it all starts with the company’s revamped Pharmacy Services Administration Organization.

“As the healthcare environment continues to evolve, it’s really important that we help our customers stay ahead of the trends,” Mauch said. “Day-to-day reimbursement on specific products is a big piece of that, but we’re really focused on the future. And in the future we’re going to be helping our customers … transition from what right now is almost a completely fee-for-service environment … to an environment where there will be more pay-for-performance.”

AmerisourceBergen’s newly-named PSAO, Elevate Provider Network, will empower independent pharmacies to improve their profitability through enhanced patient care, better business practices and by leveraging centralized data to support reimbursement discussions with payers. One highlight of the Elevate Provider Network is the expansion of its central pay capabilities with the addition of claim reconciliation services powered by FDS Inc., which enables pharmacists to monitor their receivables balance.

Good Neighbor Pharmacy members will also have access to pre- and post-claims editing services through Emdeon, a leading provider of revenue and payment cycle management, which will help reduce claim errors, improve pharmacy profits and provide greater transparency into payer reimbursement.

Then there is the new Patient Engagement Center and capability set, powered by PrescribeWellness, which independent pharmacies can leverage to drive adherence and enhance patient care, ultimately creating the potential to improve CMS Star ratings and increase reimbursements. That offering features an outbound calling service, an automated message that the pharmacy records in the pharmacist’s voice and deploys out on an ongoing basis around a number of possible topics, including flu shots or other vaccination messages, refill reminders, happy birthday greetings, etc.

To help improve front-end performance, Good Neighbor Pharmacy deployed its Pharmacy Transformation Services program, in which they remake a pharmacy’s front end to better meet the demands of today’s business. This program has really taken off, with the typical transformation delivering an overall 20% lift in front-end sales across the stores that have been transformed. Other benchmarks of success include a 2.7% lift in gross margin and an overall 8% increase in prescription volume.

Using the revamped InSite pharmacy performance tool, which is part of the Elevate Provider Network, Good Neighbor Pharmacy members can monitor front-of-store sales data, which allows pharmacies to measure their performance against similar stores.

And the new offerings to come out of ThoughtSpot 2015 also include a new mobile application that provides pharmacists key information they need to manage their business, such as the next day’s bank deposits for purposes of managing cash flow and a six-month trending view of the pharmacy’s performance in the four highly rated CMS Star clinical measures. The mobile application also keeps track of credentialing documents for pharmacists. 

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Glenmark’s Vfend generic

BY David Salazar

MUMBAI, India — Glenmark pharmaceuticals announced recently that the Food and Drug Administration had approved its generic of Pfizer’s Vfend (voriconazole) tablets. The drug, which is indicated to treat fundal infections, is available in 50- and 200-mg dosage strengths.

Vfend saw U.S. sales of about $9.14 million in the 12 months ended July 2015, according to IMS Health data.

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Medisafe, GoodRx partner to encourage medication adherence

BY DSN STAFF

BOSTON — Medisafe, a mobile health platform for medication management, on Tuesday announced its partnership with GoodRx, a prescription price comparison platform.

GoodRx and Medisafe aim to help consumers save on prescriptions by integrating the former’s database of prescription prices and discounts with the latter’s medication management app.

“We are making it easier than ever for the 70% of Americans who regularly take a prescription drug to adhere to their medication schedules,” Doug Hirsch, co-founder and co-CEO of GoodRx, said.

The rising cost of medications is linked with non-adherence, according to Medisafe.

"Higher copays and coinsurance rates from public health exchanges and private insurers are putting a heavy financial burden on consumers,” Jon Michaeli, EVP of marketing and business development for Medisafe, said. “That's not healthy for them, and it's not healthy for our healthcare system overall. Numerous studies have linked higher medication costs to lower adherence. Working with GoodRx, we can reverse this trend with an economic impact of billions of dollars in savings annually."          

One study indicated that patients with chronic conditions decreased their use of medication by up to 23% in reaction to the doubling of copayments, Medisafe said. Because pharmacy benefit managers are growing formulary exclusion lists, patients must decide between alternate medication not prescribed by their doctor and opting out of treatment.

Patients are also seeing medication itself rising in cost. Half of all generic drugs increased in price from August 2013 to August 2014, and 24% of Americans have difficulty paying for prescriptions, according to Medisafe.

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