PHARMACY

MinuteClinic becomes participating provider with health care insurer

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic business has become a participating provider with Highmark, the largest healthcare insurer in Pennsylvania based on membership.

Highmark, which is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, serves 4.8 million people through the company’s healthcare benefits business.

Through the partnership, members of Highmark’s health plans now have access to MinuteClinic locations in the Pittsburgh market.

“This is an important development in the growth of our business in western Pennsylvania as we expand access to care to millions of new customers,” stated Chip Phillips, MinuteClinic president. “By offering high quality treatment in a convenient setting, we can work with Highmark to help reduce healthcare insurance expenses for its members as well as time spent away from members’ families and the workplace.”

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FDA, SAMHSA to develop education campaign for methadone

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. A drug used to treat pain and heroin addiction is one of the most-abused prescription drugs in the country, but two government agencies will collaborate to educate the public on how to use it safety.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced Monday that they would launch a joint education campaign within SAMHSA about the safe use of methadone.

The agencies will hold a press conference Tuesday morning to mark the launch of the program.

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Decision Resources releases bipolar depression report

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. Psychiatrists treating patients with bipolar depression base their prescribing decisions on a therapy’s effect on decrease in severity of depressive symptoms, a report released Monday has found.

Decision Resources’ report, “Bipolar Depression: Despite Negative Results, Physicians Still Hopeful About Aripiprazole,” based on a survey of psychiatrists in the United States and Europe, also found that an orally administered drug that carries a lower risk of weight gain than AstraZeneca’s Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) would earn a 21% patient share in bipolar depression in the United States and a 30% share in Europe.

Most of the people interviewed also thought that Abilify (aripiprazole), made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical, is an efficacious therapy for bipolar depression despite its failure in clinical trials of people with the disorder.

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