PHARMACY

MinuteClinic offers free diabetes monitoring package

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic locations are offering a free diabetes monitoring package this summer, the company announced on Friday.

The monitoring package administered by a MinuteClinic practitioner includes hemoglobin A1C and blood glucose tests, a blood pressure check, body mass index, cholesterol test, comprehensive foot exam and microalbumin test (kidney function check). The practitioner also will conduct a review of lifestyle factors and give immediate results and recommendations.

"MinuteClinic’s diabetes monitoring services provide the care diabetics need in between visits to a primary care provider," MinuteClinic chief medical officer Nancy Gagliano said. "For the more than 25.8 million Americans with diabetes, we believe MinuteClinic can be a valuable, long-term member of the patient care team, working in tandem with physicians and other medical professionals to ensure that diabetics can access the care they need to stay on top of their condition."

Diabetes patients who take advantage of the diabetes monitoring package each will receive an Accu-Chek 360-degree View tool to take with them. The tracking tool provides a quick snapshot of a patient’s blood sugar patterns, and also helps with monitoring meal sizes and energy and activity levels at specific times. Roche, the maker of Accu-Chek products, is sponsoring the diabetes monitoring package program.

The monitoring package is available through Aug. 31 or while supplies last and is not offered in Maryland or Massachusetts. Patients must be 18 years of age or older and there is a limit of one monitoring package per customer.

MinuteClinic also offers comprehensive health condition-monitoring services for individuals diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and asthma.

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PHARMACY

CVS enhances Hep C CareTeam

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark is enhancing its hepatitis C patient support program following the recent Food and Drug Administration approval of two new add-on therapies for hepatitis C, the company announced on Friday.

While the new therapies offer improved response rates and a shorter treatment regimen for patients, they still result in uncomfortable and challenging side effects. The Hep C CareTeam educates patients about their disease and treatment regimen and supports them throughout therapy. The team also researches and manages the benefits verification process, ensures on-time delivery of the medication, coordinates injection training for new patients and communicates proactively with the patient’s physician.

"As the treatment landscape for hepatitis C changes with the addition of two new therapies, we see an even greater need to provide patients with support to help them manage their medications and stay adherent," CVS Caremark specialty pharmacy operations SVP Scott Reid said. "Our CareTeam approach connects patients with a dedicated team, including a nurse and specially trained pharmacists that are available to provide support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."

The CVS Caremark Specialty Pharmacy Hep C CareTeam is comprised of nurses, pharmacists and pharmacy service representatives. These professionals are focused on the treatment of hepatitis C and undergo training and education related to the disease and available therapies. The Hep C CareTeam reinforces the physician’s instructions to make sure the patient safely and effectively administers their prescribed medication and proactively communicates with the physician as needed to address any treatment related issues or complications that may arise.

Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne viral infection in the United States. Current estimates suggest that approximately 3.2 million Americans may be infected with the virus, many of whom are unaware they have the disease because they do not experience any symptoms. Traditional therapies for the disease have low response rates and often have significant side effects (primarily flu-like symptoms) that cause the patient to feel worse during therapy and may contribute to nonadherence. In fact, only about 25% of patients who initiate therapy complete the full treatment regimen.

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Pfizer looks to block Watson from launching generic Viagra

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Generic drug maker Watson Labs is hoping to market a generic version of a Pfizer drug for erectile dysfunction.

Watson announced Thursday that it had filed a regulatory approval application with the Food and Drug Administration to market a generic version of Viagra (sildenafil citrate) tablets in 25-mg, 50-mg and 100-mg strengths.

Pfizer filed suit against Watson on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking to prevent Watson from commercializing its version of the drug before the expiration of one of Pfizer’s patents, U.S. Patent No. 6,469,012, scheduled to expire in October 2019, according to FDA records. The lawsuit prevents the FDA from approving Watson’s product until November 2013 or until the companies resolve the matter before the court.

Viagra had U.S. sales of slightly more than $1 billion during the 12-month period ended in April, according to IMS Health.

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