PHARMACY

IOM report highlights pharmacy’s role in 2009 H1N1 vaccination campaign

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A new report from the Institute of Medicine applauded pharmacy’s role in the public health response to the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine campaign.

“The 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccination Campaign: Summary of a Workshop Series” detailed pharmacy’s distribution system and accessibility to the general public during the campaign, as well as pharmacy’s role in vaccine preparation, distribution and administration.

“Many arguments can be given for the use of retail pharmacies in administering vaccine, but the most compelling is availability; large numbers of immunizers are ready and available to administer vaccine,” the report noted. “Pharmacies know their markets; they are in the community and have established relationships with local, state and national public health … [and] are open during evening, weekend and holiday hours, when public health clinics and doctors’ offices may be closed.”

Despite the commendation, the report also found that pharmacies were at a disadvatange when it came to vaccinations for children and teenagers, primarily because of state-mandated age restrictions on pharmacy’s scope of practice.

Responding to the report, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ president and CEO Steve Anderson said that the report “validates NACDS’ position that pharmacies are accessible, knowledgeable and experienced healthcare providers that can assist patients with flu vaccinations, as well as broader issues, such as helping patients understand and take their medications correctly,” adding that the organization looks “forward to utilizing this IOM report to further advance pharmacy’s role in public policy, public health and vaccination efforts.”

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Omicare splits business into long-term care, specialty care groups

BY Alaric DeArment

COVINGTON, Ky. A company that provides pharmaceutical care for the elderly is splitting its pharmacy services business into two divisions, hoping to make its services more effective and focused on customers.

 

Omnicare announced Wednesday the reorganization of its business into a long-term care group and a specialty care group. “This reorganization is part of our efforts to become a stronger operating company,” interim president and CEO James Shelton said. “We believe these structural changes will allow us to improve the customer experience and maximize growth opportunities through better coordination across the organization.”

 

 

The company’s specialty care group will comprise its specialty pharmacy and specialty pharmaceutical service businesses, hospice pharmacy, pharmaceutical case management and others. Nitin Sahney, who has headed Omnicare’s RxCrossroads business and previously managed a healthcare investment fund, will lead the group as president.

 

 

Omnicare SVP pharmacy operations Jeffrey Stamps will lead the long-term care business as EVP and president of long-term care operations.

 

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Rite Aid positions itself to assist seniors with Part D open enrollment

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Wednesday announced its pharmacists have been prepared to assist seniors during the 2011 Medicare Part D open enrollment period. With the first of the baby boomers officially turning 65 years old in 2011, more seniors are expected to hit drug stores looking for information about Part D options and open enrollment.

 

Open enrollment begins on Nov. 15.

 

 

Patients who are new to the Medicare Part D benefit, as well as those currently enrolled in a plan who are reviewing their selection to make sure it’s the best plan for them, can receive counseling from any Rite Aid pharmacist. Patients also can receive a personalized printed report featuring the three lowest-cost plans based on their current prescriptions filled at Rite Aid locations.

 

 

Medicare enrollees have until Dec. 31 to review their current plan or enroll in a new plan. Those eligible for the Medicare Part D benefit include people older than 65 years and those with disabilities.

 

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