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Medicine Shoppe, Medicap owners get a jumpstart on RBC 2013

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — Call it the conference BEFORE the conference.

Even before the official start of the Cardinal Health Retail Business Conference, Medicine Shoppe International and Medicap Pharmacy franchisees came together, here, Wednesday at the 2013 MSI National Meeting to explore future opportunities — both as franchisees and independent owners — and to learn how Cardinal Health can help their individual pharmacy businesses succeed.

Dubbed “New Horizons-New Perspectives,” the meeting kicked off with opening remarks from John Fiacco, VP Medicine Shoppe International. According to Fiacco, Medicine Shoppe is squarely focused on helping its franchise-owners meet the evolving healthcare needs of today’s more engaged and demanding pharmacy customer. The group is also focused on empowering its franchisees to operate as profitably and cost-effectively as possible.

“[Today] we will dive into the topics that are affecting your business and the changes that will affect you in the future,” Fiacco shared with attendees. “Specialty pharmacy, star ratings and narrow access are terms we hear every day. Do you understand what they mean and how they challenge your business? Is your pharmacy well-positioned for the future?”

Wednesday’s program also featured special guest speaker Dan Coughlin, president of the Coughlin Company. Coughlin, who works with business leaders to improve bottom-line results through execution, innovation and branding, has helped develop the brands of McDonald’s, Subway and the hometown team of Medicine Shoppe’s first headquarters — the St. Louis Cardinals.

Medicine Shoppe and Medicap owner/operators also were treated to presentations around managed care, relevant pharmacy legislation and optimal business strategies within today’s economic and reimbursement framework.

In the afternoon, franchisees were invited to attend one of several breakout sessions, which covered topics from the opportunities inherent in healthcare exchanges, to the projected impact the Pharmaceutical Quality, Security and Accountability Act that presently sits before the Senate, will have on community pharmacy. The Senate had been expected to debate the bill designed to secure the drug supply chain and establish a list of "do not compound" medications, but left for recess earlier this month without voting on it, which will likely push the debate off until the fall.

Business consultant Coughlin returned to hone brand development skills for the franchisee group as part of a discussion called: “Strengthen Your Brand for Long-Time Success.” Sean Raynak, director of the Specialty Pharmacy Alliance, also was on hand to discuss opportunities for independents within the specialty arena. All told, it was a busy, productive day for community pharmacy owners.

Today, MSI represents more than 585 Medicine Shoppe and Medicap locations. Cardinal Health has worked hard to help position and support MSI owners to not only succeed in today’s marketplace, but also in tomorrow’s marketplace as the last pieces of healthcare reform are put into play.

For example, franchisees have continued to expand patient care services by tapping into Cardinal Health’s Specialized Care Centers for diabetes, heart health, immunizations and home health programs, which provide pharmacy owners with the tools and resources they need to position themselves as local patient resources.

“Medicine Shoppe franchisees have always been committed to delivering truly personalized, convenient care to their patients,” Fiacco told DSN earlier this year. “They’re seen as more than pharmacists; they’re healthcare leaders in their communities. And they understand that now, more than ever, their patients are looking to them to help them manage not just their medications, but [also] their overall health.”

Cardinal Health’s Specialized Care Centers represent a win-win for franchise owners and patients. Offering a multitude of healthcare services allows franchisees to diversify their revenue streams even as they strengthen their relationships with patients — a strategy for long-term success.

“We provide the patient education resources, marketing materials, even planograms and product recommendations to empower pharmacy owners to position themselves as local ‘destinations’ for diabetes, heart health, home health or immunizations,” Fiacco said. “It’s also good for patients who can look at Medicine Shoppe as a one-stop destination for health care.”

To keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.


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Childhood obesity rates drop in 19 states

BY Jason Owen

WASHINGTON — Data released this week by federal health officials showed that between 2008 and 2011, the obesity rates of low-income preschoolers declined in 19-of-43 states and territories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

The report, "Progress on Childhood Obesity," says one-in-eight preschoolers are obese and that children who are obese or overweight as preschoolers are five times as likely to be obese or overweight as adults compared with children who have a normal weight.

According to the report, "Obesity rates in low-income preschoolers, after decades of rising, began to level off from 2003 through 2008 and now are showing small declines in many states. However, too many preschoolers are obese. State and local officials can play a big part in reducing obesity among preschoolers."

The report recommends several actions state and local officials can pursue to help further reduce the problem among the nation’s young:

  • Create partnerships with community members such as civic leaders and child care providers to make community changes that promote healthy eating and active living.
  • Make it easier for families with children to buy healthy, affordable foods and beverages in their neighborhood.
  • Help provide access to safe, free drinking water in places such as community parks, recreation areas, child care centers, and schools.
  • Help local schools open up gyms, playgrounds, and sports fields during non-school hours so more children can safely play.
  • Help child care providers use best practices for improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, and decreasing computer and television time.

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Helping independents compete in specialty pharmacy, Cardinal Health launches new suite of services at RBC 2013

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE — By now, even a quick look at drug companies’ product pipelines and patient demographics should make it clear that specialty drugs are where it’s at.

According to pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, the market for drugs used to treat complex, rare and serious conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, autoimmune disorders and rare genetic diseases is set to grow by 67% by the end of 2015.

With that in mind, Cardinal Health announced Friday the launch of the Specialty Pharmacy Alliance, a new suite of services designed to make it easier for community pharmacies to improve patients’ access to specialty drugs and adherence to them. Specialty drugs usually require specialized handling, dispensing, administration and patient counseling, and adherence to prescribed therapies is critical for patients. The medications are often described as high-cost and high-touch because of the clinical and financial complexities of the therapies. That means specialty pharmacy is a lot of work not just for patients, but also for the pharmacies serving them.

"Recognizing that very few in this room have the desire, capital and risk tolerance to create a specialty pharmacy, Cardinal Health has endeavored to provide an alternative," Cardinal Health Pharmaceutical Segment president for U.S. pharmaceutical distribution Jon Giacomin said in a speech Friday at Cardinal’s Retail Business Conference in Seattle. "At RBC, we are introducing a specialty drug solution called Cardinal Health Specialty Pharmacy Alliance. Contracting with Specialty Pharmacy Alliance gives you the ability to dispense specialty prescriptions in those cases where you are eligible to purchase the medication."

Cardinal Health does this through its Maryland-based, URAC-accredited specialty pharmacy, OncoSource Rx. It’s staffed by certified pharmacists and technicians, every day of the year, around the clock, and the services it offers are available to any retail pharmacy in the United States. The pharmacy’s team can manage prior authorization and co-pay assistance to help patients navigate the process of approval by their pharmacy benefit manager; dispense specialty drugs and adjudicate related claims, including dispensing drugs available only through limited-distribution networks but not through retail pharmacies; help pharmacies fulfill patient prescriptions at the local level; provide individualized patient care coordination, including training on self-administration and management of complex adherence guidelines; and work with the patient, physician and PBM to order and process refills.

"Specialty Pharmacy Alliance aims to enhance the relationship between patients and their community pharmacies," Giacomin said. "Our goal is to make it easier for retail pharmacies to provide their patients with convenient access to specialty medications and related support while also reinforcing their role as their community’s most accessible, most trusted local healthcare resource."

To keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.


Get connected and follow us on LinkedIn for the most in-depth coverage of drug store news. Join the conversation.

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J.ROACHE says:
Aug-16-2013 11:38 am

I am an independent specialty pharmacy in Southern California and a significant size customer of Cardinal Health. I have never heard of the Specialty Pharmacy Alliance. How do I join and begin enjoying the benefits of this new service provided by my primary wholesaler?

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