PHARMACY

IPC’s government relations team hits Capitol Hill

BY David Salazar

SUN PRAIRIE, Wisc. — The Independent Pharmacy Cooperative’s government relations team, alongside board members, recently took to the nation’s capital to discuss issues affecting independent pharmacy with legislators. The team scheduled meetings with more than 25 legislators from more than 10 states.

“This is a great opportunity for the IPC team to express our need for legislative support and to represent the needs of our members and their communities.” IPC SVP government relations Mark Kinney said. “It is crucial that we speak for our members and actively work to achieve legislative and public policy successes important to independent pharmacy.”

IPC has worked with other industry stakeholders to pass legislation related to community pharmacy, and has advocated around such issues as a legislative response to direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, fees; implementing a valid professional dispensing fee; and PBM Enforcement Regulation, among others.

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Mylan launches generic Copaxone in 2 dosage strengths

BY David Salazar

HERTFORDSHIRE, England, and PITTSBURGH — Just a day after it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its generic of Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) — both as a 40-mg/mL three-times-a-week treatment and as a 20-mg/ml once-daily injection, the company has launched the drug.

Mylan’s generic was approved with an indication to treat patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

“Mylan has invested tens of millions of dollars over many years to bring this important medicine to market,” Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said Wednesday following the drug’s approval. “Providing patients, healthcare providers and caregivers with treatment options is very important when it comes to selecting the right therapy for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.”

Copaxone is the most-prescribed treatment for MS, with the 20-mg/ml dosage strength bringing in $700 million and the 40-mg/ml dosage strength bringing in $3.64 billion in the 12 months ended July 31, according to QuintilesIMS data.

The introduction of Mylan’s generic puts it in competition both with branded Copaxone, made by Teva, as well as Sandoz’s previously approved generic Glatopa, which is only available in the 20-mg/ml dosage strength.

As part of the launch, Mylan is introducing its MS Advocate patient support service program to help patients with an interactive mobile app, in-home injection training, 24/7 support, co-pay assistance and ongoing support from a MS-experienced nurse.

“Our commitment to the MS patient community extends beyond bringing generic versions of these products to market,” Bresch said. “Mylan also is offering comprehensive patient support services to help patients access therapy as quickly as possible and adhere to a treatment regimen that fits their needs.”
 

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Walgreens recognizes 27,000 pharmacists for commitment to patients

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — As part of American Pharmacists Month throughout October, Walgreens is recognizing its more than 27,000 pharmacists for their dedication to patient care, and the growing and important role they continue to play in health care today.

“Our pharmacists’ commitment to Walgreens patients is evident every day, and this year, especially, we’ve seen countless illustrations of our pharmacists going above and beyond,” stated Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of pharmacy and retail operations. “As we recognize our pharmacists as part of American Pharmacists Month, it’s also an opportunity to highlight their extraordinary efforts after hurricanes impacted Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico. The care, teamwork and resilience demonstrated by Walgreens pharmacists and our other employees proved critical in meeting the needs of our patients and communities at a critical time.”

Thousands of Walgreens employees and health service providers were involved in relief and recovery efforts following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, further demonstrating the important role Walgreens pharmacists have in their respective communities.  

Some examples include:

  • To help meet medication and medical supply needs, Walgreens pharmacists set up on-site pharmacy operations at several shelters, including one at the George R. Brown Conference Center in Houston and another at Florida International University in Miami. The shelter at FIU housed Florida Keys evacuees with special medical needs as well as dialysis-dependent patients evacuated from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico;
  • Walgreens pharmacists were also an invaluable and integral partner of hospitals in areas affected by the hurricanes. For example, the pharmacy manager of the Walgreens location at the Women’s Hospital of Texas in Houston, working on her own, compounded medications for the hospital’s NICU patients while also filling needed prescriptions so pediatric patients could be discharged from the hospital; and
  • When the Walgreens pharmacy staff at Baptist Hospital in Beaumont, Texas, was unable to get to the location due to flooding, several Walgreens pharmacists from neighboring locations helped hospital staff get medications to patients in critical condition who were being transferred via helicopter.  

In addition to celebrating American Pharmacists Month, during October and November, Walgreens is also recognizing the important role of its nearly 50,000 additional health care service providers, including its pharmacy technicians, Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants, in conjunction with National Physician Assistant Week (Oct. 6-12), National Pharmacy Technician Day (Oct. 17) and National Nurse Practitioner Week (Nov. 12–18).

 

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