PHARMACY

King, Acura seek regulatory approval for Acurox

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Drug makers King Pharmaceuticals and Acura Pharmaceuticals have submitted a regulatory approval application to the Food and Drug Administration for an opioid pain reliever.

The two drug makers announced Tuesday the submission for Acurox (oxycodone hydrochloride), an immediate-release tablet for relief of moderate to severe pain.

The tablets use Acura’s aversion technology, designed to deter abuse of the drug by dissolving or crushing the pills.

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MinuteClinic to promote Ask Me 3 health literacy program

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic has entered into an agreement with the National Patient Safety Foundation to become the nation’s first retail clinic provider to implement the Ask Me 3 health literacy program.

MinuteClinic will launch the program in early 2011 in its approximately 500 medical clinics located inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

Ask Me 3 is a patient education program designed to enhance communication between healthcare providers and patients in order to improve health outcomes. The program encourages patients to ask and understand the answers to three questions: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do this?

To promote the program, Ask Me 3 posters will appear at all MinuteClinic locations, and brochures about the program will be offered to patients when they visit. Each clinic will have a certificate designating it an Ask Me 3 participant.

In addition, MinuteClinic practitioners will receive Ask Me 3 training developed by the nonprofit National Patient Safety Foundation.

"Low health literacy is an emerging public health issue that is broad in scope and can affect any patient, regardless of education and reading levels," said Andrew Sussman, MinuteClinic president and CVS Caremark SVP and associate chief medical officer. "Research shows that patients who understand health instructions get well sooner, tend to take their medication regularly and make fewer mistakes with their care. In particular, clear communication helps individuals do a better job of managing chronic health conditions, including those patients we assist with monitoring at MinuteClinic for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and asthma."

Added Paulette Thabault, MinuteClinic chief nurse practitioner officer, "Health literacy is the strongest predictor of an individual’s health status. This program will provide another tool for our practitioners to help them encourage and empower patients to take ownership of their own health."

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Kerr Drug to extend free drug delivery program

BY Allison Cerra

RALEIGH, N.C. — Just a few months after launching its free delivery program, Kerr Drug on Monday said it will continue the service into the New Year.

The delivery program allows Kerr Drug customers to call their prescriptions in to the store pharmacist and request the prescription be delivered to their home or office and may add any other item from the store to their delivery list, which also can be delivered free of charge.

“Customers tell us they are too sick or housebound or simply too busy to get to the pharmacy counter to get their prescriptions, so we are glad to bring the pharmacy to them free of charge,” said Tony Civello, president and CEO of Kerr Drug. “Customers [also] have really responded to our offer to deliver additional items from the store,” Civello added. “The most requested items are over-the-counter medications, which provide our pharmacists an opportunity to advise patients on how to avoid interactions between their prescriptions and other medicines.”

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