PHARMACY

Medco study: Half of women 40 years and older don’t get annual mammograms

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN ANTONIO — Despite recommendations, half of women ages 40 years and older do not get annual mammograms, according to a new study by pharmacy benefit manager Medco.

The analysis, from the Medco Research Institute, also found that nearly 40% of women ages 50 years and older don’t get biennial screenings. Data from the study will be presented at the 33rd annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The study was based on anonymous medical claims data collected between 2006 and 2009 from more than 1.5 million women. Mammograms are considered an important means of detecting breast cancer and can detect most cases of the disease in women who aren’t showing symptoms.

“These findings provide stark evidence that we need to do a much better job at encouraging women to have regular mammograms,” breast cancer specialist and BreastCancer.org founder Marisa Weiss stated. Weiss recently was diagnosed with breast cancer through a routine mammogram.

The National Cancer Institute estimated that 1-in-8 women will develop cancer during their lifetimes, and the American Cancer Society estimated that 207,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed this year.

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Kerr rolls out new emergency response device

BY Jim Frederick

SALT LAKE CITY — Kerr Drug has begun offering a new emergency response and health service system to seniors via a one-touch cell phone link.

The product, from ActiveCare, now is available in most or all of the Raleigh, N.C.-based drug chain’s stores, according to both companies. Kerr VP marketing Diane Eliezer said the chain maintains roughly 90 stores and retail health centers, all in North Carolina.

The new product, called the ActiveOne PAL, or Personal Assistance Link, was test marketed for six months before its introduction this month in Kerr’s stores, said ActiveCare chairman and CEO James Dalton. Interactive displays are set up in all stores, near the pharmacy or clinic waiting areas, so independent living seniors and their caregivers can test the service while they fill prescriptions or shop for healthcare supplies.

Kerr is the first drug chain to offer the product, according to ActiveCare. Dalton called it “the culmination of several years of work and development, and the result of [more than] 18 patents,” and said the rollout “is the first of many programs that will be launched in the following months.”

ActiveCare’s services are provided through the PAL handset, which doubles as a cell phone. The device features one-button service; when activated, a live operator greets each caller by name, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dalton called the individual care provided by operators “the core of our business,” and said the goal is “to provide products and services that keep members active, independent and living in their own home for an additional one to five years.”

Through its alliance with Kerr, the company also will provide other pharmacy-related services to members, including prescription refill reminders and savings on home health supplies.

“ActiveCare presented us a great opportunity to offer a superior caregiver service to our customers,” said Bill Baxley, Kerr’s SVP merchandising and marketing. “The Kerr Drug/ActiveCare service will offer our aging customers and their caregivers exceptional, caring assistance with daily living needs and emergency response services at a fraction of the cost of traditional in-home care or assisted living.”

ActiveCare, Dalton said, is “continuing to develop and integrate new technologies that better care for our members, including alarm, sensor, health and smart home technologies that we can provide to members today.” The company, he added loftily, “will truly revolutionize the industry and redefine what it means to age in place.”

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Amneal names SVP, general counsel

BY Alaric DeArment

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Amneal Pharmaceuticals has named a drug industry attorney as SVP and general counsel, the generic drug maker said Thursday.

Amneal announced the appointment of Robert Loewenstein, who previously served as head of law firm Budd Larner, P.C.’s corporate generic pharmaceuticals practice.

Amneal said Loewenstein had represented generic drug companies in United States and international transactions for 20 years, including deals in the United Kingdom and South Africa, and had represented Amneal in virtually all of its business activities since 2005, including the company’s acquisitions of Akyma Pharmaceuticals, KVD Pharmaceuticals and Interpharm.

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