PHARMACY

Jean Coutu Group reports increase in revenue

BY Michael Johnsen

LONGUEUIL, Quebec The Jean Coutu Group on Tuesday reported a 3.8% increase in revenues to $611.6 million for the first quarter.

“The expansion of our network [by nine locations] and the solid operating performance of our organization have allowed us to reach our objectives,” stated Francois Coutu, JCG president and CEO.

During the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, on a same-store basis, PJC network retail sales grew 2.9%, pharmacy sales gained 3.8% and front-end sales increased by 1%, compared with the first quarter of the previous fiscal year. Sales of non-prescription drugs, which represent 9% of total retail sales, increased by 2.2%, whereas these sales had increased by 7.2% during the first quarter of the previous fiscal year, Coutu noted.

The recent announcement from the Minister of Health and Social Services of Quebec around lower reimbursement rates associated with generic drugs may pose a challenge going forward. The Minister on June 25 stated that as of July, 2010, the price of generic drugs will generally be established at 25% of the price for the original equivalent. The Minister also mentioned that the implementation of this reduction in prices will be postponed for a period of 4 to 8 weeks in order to consult interested parties.

In the nearby Ontario province, the Minister there recently enacted “prescription drug reform”  that will not only reduce the price of generic drugs but also reduce the professional allowances paid to pharmacists by generic drug manufacturers. If that legislation were replicated in Quebec, that could have a material impact on sales, Coutu said.

“We strongly believe that the government of Quebec must recognize that a reduction in the price of generic drugs must be adopted concurrently with measures in order to assist market participants with the transition to lower generic drug prices,” Coutu said.

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Study: Pharmacist-provided MTM services can improve patient health, save money

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Medication therapy management services and cheaper therapies can help improve patient outcomes and save money, according to a new study sponsored by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

With funding from an NACDS Foundation grant, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill conducted the study at Kerr Drug, a regional retail pharmacy chain between 2006 and 2007. The study was published in the May/June 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, titled “Retrospective analysis of community pharmacists’ recommendations in the North Carolina Medicaid medication therapy management program.” The study found that when physicians and pharmacists worked together to review patient profiles and communicated more with their patients, patients listened to their healthcare providers and demonstrated better medication adherence.

The study found that through pharmacist-provided MTM services and coordination with prescribers, patient outcomes improved, while they also saved an average of $107 per year per beneficiary. The New England Healthcare Institute estimated that medication-related problems, including poor adherence, cost the healthcare system as much as $290 billion per year.

“Medication adherence is a crucial component in improving patient health and reducing overall public healthcare costs,” NACDS Foundation president Edith Rosato said. “This study is a perfect example of the public benefits of medication therapy management. Counseling patients on how to adhere to medication regimen, recommending lower-cost medication alternatives and recognizing harmful drug interactions can, over time, result in better health for a patient and reduced costs for public healthcare programs like Medicaid.”

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NCPA Foundation receives $100K grant from Purdue Pharma

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The charitable arm of the National Community Pharmacists Association has been awarded a $100,000 grant by Purdue Pharma to advance the foundation’s efforts to stimulate community pharmacy-based research that helps improve patient care and education.

The NCPA Foundation said the grant will support its Catalyst Grant Award Program for Innovative Practice, with a focus on pain management.

“As healthcare providers, we know that partnerships and the pooling of resources are vital to improving our nation’s healthcare delivery system in an effective and responsive manner,” said Sharlea Leatherwood, NCPA Foundation president. “Purdue’s funding of the Catalyst Grant Award Program underscores the importance of such collaboration.”

The Catalyst Grant Award Program is designed to be conducted over a four-year period, with the selected best practices widely communicated to the pharmacy profession, other healthcare providers, policy-makers and payers, as well as patient and disease advocacy organizations. After four years, the program should generate a significant body of knowledge and evidence to showcase the effectiveness of pharmacy-provided services and the efficacy of pharmaceuticals when properly used.

Interested applicants must be NCPA members and currently licensed and engaged in independent pharmacy practice. Each grant will provide $3,000 or $5,000 to support up to an eight-month project. The application deadline is Aug. 6. Grant recipients will be announced at the NCPA 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Oct. 23 to 27. For more information, visit NCPAFoundation.org/Purdue.shtml.

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