PHARMACY

JAMA: Less than 3 generic rivals could lead to rising drug prices

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO – According to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, an analysis of FDA new drug and generic drug applications since the Hatch-Waxman Act took effect revealed that more than one-third of 210 novel therapeutics tracked had only three or fewer generic approvals.

The finding points to a potential gap in competition that has allowed prices for some generics to climb.

Conventional wisdom suggests the U.S. market for generics, accounting for more than 85% of prescriptions, was energized by the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984. Indeed, generic competition of more than four generic manufacturers has been shown to drive down the cost of the brand-name drugs by roughly 60%.

Oncological medications and orphan-designated drugs were especially likely to lack generic alternatives, due to smaller markets and the probability of smaller profits. The researchers concluded that FDA might want to give priority to applications for drugs with three or fewer generic versions to avoid escalation in generic pricing.
 

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Kroger’s Axium Pharmacy merges with ModernHEALTH specialty pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI – Kroger on Wednesday announced an agreement for Axium Pharmacy Holdings to acquire the outstanding shares of Modern HC Holdings, a leading specialty pharmacy, to create a combined specialty pharmacy that will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kroger.

"This strategic investment will accelerate the growth of Kroger's health and wellness business," stated Robert Clark, Kroger's SVP merchandising. "Expanding our specialty pharmacy services will provide our customers with greater access to medications we don't currently dispense and access to additional services without going to another pharmacy."

ModernHEALTH, based in Orlando, is one of the nation's largest independent providers of specialty pharmacy services. The company employs approximately 500 associates who provide comprehensive specialty pharmacy services including IVIG for patients who require IV-based therapies for autoimmune and primary immune deficiency diseases, and comprehensive medication management for HIV, Cystic Fibrosis, Transplant, Hepatitis C, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Dermatology.

Kroger operates 2,230 pharmacy locations and 195 The Little Clinic locations. The company's pharmacists also provide health coaching, biometric screening and other wellness services designed to deliver positive health outcomes for patients. Axium, which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kroger in 2012, is one of the nation's largest independent providers of specialty pharmacy services, offering a range of clinical services to patients with complex chronic conditions.

The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals, including from the FTC.

Financial terms were not disclosed.
 

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NCPA forms Innovation Center to drive healthcare evolution through independent pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association on Tuesday announced the establishment of a new Innovation Center that is intended to further assist and speed up the evolution of independent community pharmacies in a changing health care environment.

"The U.S. health care system is shifting toward a greater emphasis on value and quality of care," stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "Many independent community pharmacists are already at the vanguard of this movement. This new Innovation Center will bring many of these community pharmacists together with leading community pharmacy partners under an organized and flexible structure," he said. "Working together with NCPA staff, the Innovation Center will help better position independent community pharmacies to be part of and benefit from broader health care changes. Its driving mission is to help independent community pharmacies continue to prosper in step with health care changes rather than being left behind them."

The NCPA Innovation Center board of directors is comprised of many leading community pharmacists and prominent partners of independent community pharmacies. Hoey will serve as chairman of the board and NCPA SVP , strategic initiatives Kurt Proctor, is its president.

"I am excited to be a part of this new initiative from NCPA to help independent community pharmacies thrive in a changing health care environment," commented NCPA Innovation Center board member Mike McBride, VP partner relations at Upsher-Smith Laboratories. "We believe that community pharmacists are uniquely suited to help improve outcomes at lower overall cost because of their strong relationships with patients, and that they will play a critical role in the delivery of tomorrow's health care."

The Innovation Center will develop and execute programs to inform and educate community pharmacists to realize the opportunities in an evolving health care market. In addition, it will demonstrate, research and support new and expanded roles for community pharmacists.

Specifically, this will be accomplished through peer-to-peer exchanges of best practices. The Innovation Center is an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, which enables industry partners to make tax-deductible contributions to support the Innovation Center's work.

The current Innovation Center Board of Directors was appointed by the NCPA board of directors and is as follows:

  • Doug Hoey, NCPA CEO & Innovation Center Board chairman;
  • Brian Caswell, owner of Wolkar Drug, Baxter Springs, Kan.;
  • Rex Catton, SVP McKesson;
  • Jeff Key, president, PioneerRx;
  • Steve Lawrence, SVP independent sales, Cardinal Health;
  • Tripp Logan, L & S Pharmacy, Charleston, Mo.;
  • Mike McBride, VP partner relations at Upsher-Smith Laboratories;
  • Rob Meriweather, corporate VP sales, H. D. Smith;
  • Joe Moose, operator Moose Pharmacy, Concord, N.C.;
  • DeAnn Mullins, owner of Mullins Pharmacy, Lynn Haven, Fla.;
  • Jimmy Neil, general manager of Pharmacy Lending, Live Oak Bank;
  • Brian Nightengale, presdient Good Neighbor Pharmacy, AmerisourceBergen; and
  • Walt Slijepcevich, senior director, pharmacy development, Pfizer.

"We are honored to have a truly all-star cast of board members and NCPA staff to help lead the Innovation Center from its inception," said Proctor. "I want to acknowledge and appreciate their support for this new effort. I look forward to what this body will accomplish to help put independent community pharmacists in an optimal position for the changes occurring in health care today and that surely will follow tomorrow."
 

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