PHARMACY

Max-Wellness, Humana partner on new in-home healthcare solutions service

BY Michael Johnsen

WOODMERE, Ohio — Health-and-wellness retailer Max-Wellness on Tuesday announced a series of initiatives that vastly will expand the reach of the upstart company.

Among them:

  • Humana Homecare Solutions. Through an agreement with Humana, the new in-home healthcare solutions provider service features an in-store Humana care manager who works with customers to coordinate special in-home services for daily needs, including medication monitoring, home safety and even light housework at each of the four Max-Wellness locations, with four additional stores to come;

  • Mini-Max. A new, smaller footprint store concept that will be strategically located in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, “Mini-Max will feature an assortment of merchandise that patients who are discharged from the facility would need to continue their recovery and rehabilitation,” said Michael Feuer, Max-Wellness founder and CEO. “Working with the hospital staff prior to a patient’s discharge, our wellness advocate will visit the patient [and that patient’s] family members to provide assistance in selecting products for the patient’s continuing care”;

  • Wellness-in-a-Box. The company plans to roll out computerized vending machines in a variety of different venues, including urgent care centers, assisted living facilities, airports and fitness centers. The units will be similar to vending machines currently operated in airports by Best Buy and Apple. Product assortment would vary based on the setting — for instance, an airport merchandise mix could include emergency travel products, as well as sleep aids and skin creams; a fitness center mix could include such items as support products, energy supplements and electronic devices like fat analyzers and heart monitors. The vending units also will link customers to Max-Wellness’ e-commerce to purchase thousands of additional items online for next-day delivery; and

  • Max-Wellness.com. This month, the company will unveil a new e-commerce site, featuring “several thousand key vitamin, supplements and health-and-beauty products,” Feuer noted. The plan is to add additional functionalities over the next year, including the company’s Max-Answers database of health-and-wellness information to assist Web users with product selection. The Max-Answers database currently is available in-store, where Max-Wellness customers have access to portable, electronic tablets to carry with them while they shop.

As part of its e-commerce efforts, the company also will pursue new affinity programs in which Max-Wellness would serve as a preferred provider of health-and-wellness information and products for various third-party organizations, with special offers for members, beneficiaries and/or affiliates.

The company also plans to continue to open additional new stores in 2011 and 2012, including several new markets. However, no further details were made available.

“We believe that the opportunity for our various concepts has been heightened dramatically as a result of the public’s fixation and national media attention on Americans’ quest to live a fuller and more active life,” Feuer said. “We are not only retailers; we are also building a national brand to better serve a broader audience of customers enabling them to shop where, when and how they choose for products and services to enhance their lives, help them prevent illness and treat health issues.”

For an in-depth look at a Max-Wellness prototype, click here

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Express Scripts finds generic antidepressant users as adherent as brand-name counterparts

BY Allison Cerra

ST. LOUIS — Patients who take generic antidepressants will remain as adherent as those who take brand-name drugs to treat the condition, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by Express Scripts and published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, found patients starting generic selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and generic selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors had a discontinuation rate of 44.2%, compared with 46.8% among those on brand-name SSRIs and SNRIs.

However, drug costs for those starting on generics were almost 50% lower. Similarly, total healthcare costs were about 20% lower — an average of $3,660 in patients starting on a generic, compared with $4,587 for those starting on a brand-name drug.

The study analyzed antidepressant usage from more than 16,000 patient records in MarketScan, a database of integrated pharmacy and medical claims from commercially insured patients.

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Trial date set for generic Copaxone litigation

BY Allison Cerra

JERUSALEM — Teva on Tuesday said that a trial date has been set for its ongoing patent infringement litigation against several drug makers.

Teva said the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will commence proceedings Sept. 7. Teva’s litigation is against Momenta Pharmaceuticals/Sandoz and Mylan Pharmaceuticals/Mylan/Natco Pharma regarding their purported generic versions of Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection).

"We are very pleased to have a trial date as we are confident we will prevail in this litigation,” said Richard Egosi, Teva’s chief legal officer. “Teva remains committed to vigorously defending its intellectual property rights against infringement.”

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