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IRI discusses health care during recession in new report

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Information Resources Inc. on Thursday released a report, “The Changing Landscape of Healthcare and the American Consumer,” outlining the forward impact the current recession will have on how Americans research, purchase and use health care.

“Health care is costly, and people are rethinking how they take care of themselves in order to conserve funds,” Thom Blischok, president, consulting and innovation, IRI, wrote in the opening of the report. “Instead of sticking with their tried-and-true healthcare options, consumers are aggressively seeking affordable solutions for health and wellness, both in terms of how they obtain care and in the healthcare products they choose.”

And while Americans are changing how they choose health care, the Food and Drug Administration is “flexing its regulatory muscles again.” And while the new FDA activism is expected to make medicines and supplements safer, it also has the potential to add significant costs overall — including added costs in drug development as well as added costs to keep those medicines already approved on store or pharmacy shelves.

The study is available as a free PDF download at http://us.infores.com/Insights/Publications/IRIPointofView/tabid/197/ctl/Details/mid/923/ItemID/900/Default.aspx.

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Walgreens announces Pharmacy Management Excellence program with Caterpillar

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. A retail giant and the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment have announced an agreement that establishes a direct relationship for the purchase of prescription drugs using a transparent pricing model.

Walgreens Pharmacy Management Excellence program provides transparent prescription drug pricing to employers who offer prescription drug benefits to their employees, dependents and retirees. Under the program, Caterpillar is given a Walgreens Proprietary Price List which is based off of the cost Walgreens pays the drug manufacturer.

Todd Bisping, Caterpillar’s pharmacy benefits manager, said, “Transparency around pharmacy pricing, elimination of unnecessary and hidden costs in the prescription drug supply chain and the opportunity to effectively deliver lower cost solutions are in great demand by the employer community. We commend Walgreens for developing and embracing a transparent cost pharmacy pricing methodology.”

Walgreens and Caterpillar also agreed to explore, through Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being program, other ways of creating an integrated health care and pharmacy program. This is part of Caterpillar’s longstanding efforts to lower overall health care costs while providing access to higher quality health care to its employees, retirees and their dependents. Complete Care and Well-Being is offered through Walgreens Health and Wellness division’s Take Care Health Systems and is a holistic approach to health care that integrates pharmacy and health and wellness services, with all prices transparent to the employer. The program combines worksite health centers, in-store clinics and pharmacies with the discount prescription drug offering that is available nationally to a company’s employees, dependents and retirees no matter where they work or live.

“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with an industry leader like Caterpillar and, through our Pharmacy Management Excellence offering, help deliver for its employees and their families high-quality, low-cost, convenient pharmacy services,” said Hal F. Rosenbluth, Walgreens SVP and president of Walgreens Health and Wellness division. “We believe Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being program, of which Pharmacy Management Excellence is a key component, makes the historically conflicting goals of delivering quality care while managing costs, complementary and achievable. We look forward to working with Caterpillar and other corporations on programs to this end.

“Given today’s economic conditions and rising costs of health care, we are doing everything possible to improve employees’ well-being and offer valuable health, wellness and pharmacy services where individuals work and live,” said Rosenbluth.

More than 70,000 Caterpillar employees, retirees and eligible dependents will have convenient access to prescription drugs purchased under the Pharmacy Management Excellence program, as nearly 70% of all Americans live within five miles of a Walgreens, and 50% live within two miles. In addition, Walgreens currently serves as Caterpillar’s pharmacy mail service provider.

To learn more about the Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being program, including the Pharmacy Management Excellence program, visit www.takecareemployersolutions.com or call 1-800-572-6650.

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Lurasidone effective in treating schizophrenia, company said

BY Alaric DeArment

OSAKA, Japan An investigational drug was effective in treating patients with schizophrenia, according to late-stage clinical trial results announced Wednesday.

Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co. said participants in a 2,000-patient phase 3 trial receiving daily 40-mg and 120-mg doses of lurasidone experienced greater improvement than those taking placebo.

“We are pleased with the results of this study as these data reinforce our belief that lurasidone will be an important treatment option for patients with schizophrenia,” Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma CEO Masayo Tada said in a statement.

Tada said the company would submit a regulatory approval application to the Food and Drug Administration early next year.

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