PHARMACY

Kerr honored for MTM, diabetes initiatives

BY Jim Frederick

RALEIGH, N.C. Winning new recognition for its industry-leading patient-care initiatives, Kerr Drug has picked up two national awards for its work in medication therapy management and diabetes care.

Outcomes Pharmaceutical Health Care recently named Kerr its 2007 National MTM Chain Provider of the Year, in recognition of its efforts to steer patients through the Outcomes-administered MTM program. Outcomes is a major administrator of such programs, which are mandated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for Medicare patients on multiple medications who require additional counseling on their drug therapy.

“We are honored by this recognition. It underscores our commitment to meaningful interaction between pharmacist and patient, improved medication use, and enhanced patient safety,” said Lori Brown, manager of clinical services for the 102-store chain.

Kerr is an active participant in an MTM program, ChecKmeds NC, launched October 2007 by North Carolina Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue and supported by the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund. One of the purposes of ChecKmeds NC is to help ensure that patients take their prescribed and over-the counter medications appropriately. Since the program was launched in October, Kerr’s pharmacists have conducted more than 2,000 comprehensive medication reviews with patients in the program, the company reports. ChecKmeds NC is available to any North Carolina senior who has a Medicare drug benefit, which makes it more widely available than other MTM programs.

Another plaudit for Kerr comes from the American Diabetes Association, which has named the Kerr Drug Diabetes Education Program the 2008 American Diabetes Association Provider of the Year for North Carolina.

“Kerr Drug began an evolution of community pharmacy practice as a home for delivery of clinical patient care services,” noted the company. “The Kerr Drug Diabetes Education Program is a hallmark of this evolution.”

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Study of Copaxone reveals that drug is not effective for patients in treatment of ASL

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON Copaxone, a blockbuster drug manufactured by Israel’s Teva Industries, has proven to be ineffective for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to the company.

Copaxone, which earned Teva $436 million in revenue, was subjected to a 366-patient Phase II trial to investigate if it was able to reduce deterioration in patients with ALS. According to published reports, the study showed that the drug, although safe, did not increase rate of survival among patients battling the disease.

ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, plagues about 10,000 people in the U.S. and Europe. ASL leads to paralysis, and those who are diagnosed are expected to live within 3-5 years experiencing weakness in limbs, twitching and respiratory impairment, as well as other painful symptoms. Copaxone was the leading therapy for multiple sclerosis in the U.S., but based on the new findings, Teva will continue to search for other options in treating the disease.

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Manitoba pharmaceutical regulator tries to end online pharmacies

BY Drew Buono

MANITOBA, Canada The Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association is attempting to put a stranglehold on the province’s Internet pharmacy business, according to CBC news. Manitoba conducts a good deal of online pharmacy business.

The association has approved a new rule that would prevent pharmacies from filling out-of-province prescriptions starting June 30. If pharmacies don’t comply with this new rule, they can have their licenses revoked.

Troy Harwood-Jones, of the Manitoba International Pharmacy Association, said that kind of rule is unheard of in other provinces, and in a recent vote, more than 70 percent of pharmacists voted against it.

In response, the province has assigned a mediator to try to work something out between the Internet pharmacies and the association. Although, Harwood-Jones said that if a deal wasn’t reached, he thought many of the 20 Internet pharmacies in the province would leave.

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