PHARMACY

MinuteClinic gets reaccreditation from The Joint Commission

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has announced that its MinuteClinic operation has become the first retail clinic operator to be re-accredited and earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for consecutive evaluation periods by having demonstrated compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for healthcare quality and safety.

“This recognition reaffirms our strong commitment to clinical quality and safety that is at the core of everything we do throughout the MinuteClinic organization,” stated Andrew Sussman, M.D., president of MinuteClinic. “With more than 6 million patient visits and patient satisfaction ratings that exceed 95%, we have consistently demonstrated our ability to serve patients and deliver the highest level of care in the more than 40 metropolitan markets we serve throughout the country.”

The accreditation applies to MinuteClinic locations in 25 states and the District of Columbia. In September 2006, MinuteClinic was the first retail clinic in the United States to achieve Joint Commission accreditation.

The Joint Commission conducted unannounced, on-site evaluations of MinuteClinic locations across the country during the third quarter 2009.

“Accreditation by The Joint Commission sets MinuteClinic apart,” stated Michael Kulczycki, executive director of the Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program for The Joint Commission. “Organizations awarded this Gold Seal of Approval dedicate themselves to continuous operational improvement.”

The Joint Commission accreditation supports recent research about the quality of care provided by retail medical clinics. Independent clinical studies, based largely on MinuteClinic data, were published in the September 2009 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. They found that that the quality of care delivered at retail clinics is equal to or higher than emergency rooms, urgent care centers and physician offices, and the cost for services is substantially lower than those offered by these other providers, the company stated.

Every MinuteClinic patient assessment and treatment follows nationally established clinical practice guidelines from the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics that are embedded in MinuteClinic’s electronic medical records system, the company stated. Using the EMR, practitioners generate educational material, an invoice, a prescription (when clinically appropriate) and a diagnostic record that can be sent to the patient’s primary care provider. A collaborating physician is on call during operating hours.

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Behavioral Diabetes Institute addresses emotional, psychological aspects of living with diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

SAN DIEGO, Calif. Diabetes patients can ease their worries about living with the disease, as one organization focuses on an often-ignored area of treatment: The emotional and psychological issues surrounding both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

The Behavioral Diabetes Institute is the world’s first organization dedicated to tackling the unmet psychological needs of people with diabetes. The BDI offers an array of evidence-based clinical programs, all designed to help people overcome the emotional and behavioral obstacles to living well with diabetes. Based in San Diego, the BDI is committed to helping people master the unique challenges of diabetes, conducting behavioral research in diabetes and providing healthcare providers with the specialty behavioral training necessary for managing diabetes effectively.

The Behavioral Diabetes Institute was founded five years ago by William Polonsky, a clinical psychologist, certified diabetes educator, associate clinical professor at the University of California – San Diego, and author of “Diabetes Burnout: What To Do When You Can’t Take It Anymore.”

Polonsky and his colleagues provide useful tools through BDI’s Web site, BehavioralDiabetes.org. They also offer small group workshops and programs for adults and adolescents with diabetes throughout the year. These include their core program, “Getting on Track;” the multiweek depression series, “Feeling Good Again: Breaking the Depression/Diabetes Connection,” and — new for 2010 — programs for eating disorders in diabetes.

For more information on the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, visit BehavioralDiabetes.org

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Pfizer to develop cancer drug with Debiopharm

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Two drug makers have entered an agreement to develop a drug designed to treat melanoma.

Pfizer said that it would resume the development of its drug tremelimumab with the help of Swiss drug maker Debiopharm. As part of the agreement, Debiopharm will conduct a phase 3 trial of the drug, while Pfizer will retain responsibility for worldwide commercialization of the compound.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, occurs in about 69,000 patients in the United States each year, and results in about 9,000 deaths. The number of melanoma cases worldwide is increasing faster than any other cancer.

Pfizer’s investigational drug, tremelimumab (CP675,206), currently in phase 2, is a fully human igG2 monoclonal antibody which has been in development for the treatment of advanced melanoma. In April 2008, Pfizer announced that it had discontinued a phase 3 clinical trial for patients with advanced melanoma after the Data Safety Monitoring Board review of interim data showed that the trial would not demonstrate superiority to standard chemotherapy.

“The continuation of the clinical development of tremelimumab with our partner, Debiopharm, is a demonstration of our commitment to personalized medicine for cancer patients,” said Garry Nicholson, president and GM of Pfizer’s Oncology Business Unit. “Debiopharm is a successful company which has achieved impressive results on a global scale. This co-development partnership is an opportunity to leverage the combined expertise of both companies in this innovative endeavor.”

Financial terms of the co-development agreement between Debiopharm and Pfizer have not been disclosed.

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