PHARMACY

K-VA-T leverages pharmacy to help customers live healthier

BY Antoinette Alexander

ABINGDON, Va. —Supermarket pharmacy is ideally positioned to help ease some of the pressure on the U.S. healthcare system. Food City executives couldn’t agree more.

“People are in their supermarket about once a week, and that’s much more frequent than in a chain or independent or community pharmacy,” said Don Clark, VP pharmacy operations for Food City. “Because of that, the pharmacist has the opportunity to be a more integral part of their health care.”

Clark acknowledged that Food City’s initiatives remain in the earlier stages, but the company—whose corporate name is K-VA-T Food Stores, an acronym of its trade area: Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee—no doubt is committed to helping its customers live healthier lives, and is leveraging pharmacy to achieve that goal.

For example, the company has a full immunization program that goes beyond seasonal flu and pneumonia to travel vaccines and Gardasil, among others. There are more than 70 certified immunizers who are pharmacists for Food City. About two-thirds of the company’s pharmacies have immunizations available.

BY THE NUMBERS

Food City
No. of stores 106
Stores with Rx 73

In late 2009, the company had given 10% more seasonal flu shots than last year, and 20 stores in Tennessee were actively giving the H1N1 vaccine. Also in the state, Food City is participating in distribution of antiviral medications.

In east Tennessee and Sullivan County, the company offers diabetes counseling modeled after the Asheville Project. A certified diabetes educator/Food City pharmacist in Knoxville travels store to store to offer diabetes education at the store level. “I think people get confused…about healthy eating and how it relates to their overall health,” Clark said. “I think in the supermarket we should be focusing on what are healthy eating habits. Obesity in the United States is the root of a lot of these health problems that we have.”

To help patients with chronic diseases, Food City partners with local colleges to develop disease state management services through its pharmacies. Clark said such services are especially important for Food City shoppers because many of its stores are located in very rural areas where access to a doctor may be limited.

“It saves healthcare dollars because you are not having to pay the expensive healthcare visits, and it brings new revenue streams into the pharmacy business because it…is outside of putting pills in a bottle and getting paid for it,” Clark said. “And it allows us to service an underserved population because traditionally the only other alternative people have is to go see their doctor.”

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PHARMACY

Walgreens offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens now is offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries at all of its more than 7,100 pharmacies throughout the country.

Following the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D insurance plans, Walgreens is assisting those beneficiaries who’ve made changes to their prescription drug coverage. Review sessions with Walgreens pharmacists are available daily by appointment through Jan. 31, and are designed to help patients maximize their plan benefits.

Review sessions include:

  • A review of beneficiary’s current medications, tiers within their selected plan, co-pays and cost-savings opportunities
  • Discussion of available health and wellness services including pneumonia and shingles vaccinations and 90-day prescription benefits
  • Checks for potential drug interactions

Customers can call their nearest Walgreens pharmacy to schedule an appointment. Visit www.walgreens.com or call 1-800-Walgreens for store locations and hours.

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Watson files FDA application for generic LoSeasonique

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Watson Labs, a subsidiary of specialty pharmaceutical company Watson Pharmaceuticals, has filed an abbreviated new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration for an oral contraceptive.

Watson is seeking approval to market its levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (0.10-mg/0.02-mg) oral contraceptive product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545, which is owned by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Teva.  Watson’s levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol product is a generic version of Teva’s LoSeasonique, which is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy.

On Nov. 23, 2009, pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, Watson notified Duramed that its ANDA requesting approval from the FDA for a generic version of LoSeasonique contained a paragraph IV certification asserting that the LoSeasonique patent is invalid, unenforceable and/or not infringed.  Teva Women’s Health filed suit against Watson on Jan. 6, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey seeking to prevent Watson from commercializing its product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545.  Based on available information, Watson believes it may be entitled to 180 days of generic market exclusivity or shared exclusivity should its product receive approval.

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