PHARMACY

More than 26,000 pharmacies begin e-prescribing campaign

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Starting today, more than 26,000 pharmacies across the country will be displaying window stickers, logos and signs proclaiming “E-prescriptions Filled Here.” The goal of this program is to increase the use of e-prescription in doctor’s offices, where according to SureScripts, only 6 percent of physicians partake in e-prescribing, even though more than 70 percent of pharmacies accept them. SureScripts operates the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange, a network that transfers e-prescriptions from doctor offices to pharmacies.

Such major chains as CVS, Walgreens, Longs, Rite Aid and Kerr are taking part in the program, which hopes to reach 10 million patients this week alone.

An online promo will also be running to coincide with the print ads in the stores. Patients can go to www.LearnAboutEPrescriptions.com and type in their zip code and they can find out which physicians in their area e-prescribe. Also, the site gives information for patients to take to their doctors to inform them about the benefits of e-prescribing. There is also a website that patients can refer their doctors to learn more about e-prescribing, www.GetRxConnected.com, was actually started by physicians and also helps physicians adopt and start using e-prescribing technology.

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Anderson highlights NACDS achievements in annual speech

BY Drew Buono

PALM BEACH, Fla. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson addressed the attendees yesterday at the association’s annual meeting with his “State of the Association” speech.

“I think the stakes are very high and we are ready to live and to thrive in this moment,” said Anderson. “In January 2009, we are going to have a new president in the White House, and a new administration that will be serving that president. We are going to have a new congress, new governors and state legislators, and the healthcare debate is going to rage and the response to economic conditions are going to dominate.”

Anderson highlighted some of the policy victories of the association over the past year. This includes a six-month delay of the tamper-resistant paper requirement for Medicaid prescriptions, the two-year delay of California’s e-pedigree requirement, the preservation of access to retail pharmacy for military families and veterans through the TRICARE program and the temporary injunction won by NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association to block the Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement cuts that would have gone into effect in January 2008.

“NACDS talked about the cost when patients don’t take their medications as prescribed—by one estimate, $177 billion annually,” said Anderson. “We talked about the seven most common chronic diseases. We cited there a $1.3 trillion annual drag on the economy, not to mention the human suffering. … We talked about the ability of retail pharmacy to make a difference if we are only given the chance.”

Anderson also talked about strengthening the presence of the pharmacy in the health care system. He called for the industry to take action, at this “defining age” in health care. Anderson said, “We have a vision for the future. We are branding pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare.”

“The state of your association is very strong, in large part, because our staff team is working very well together,” said Anderson, who noted that results on issues are the best indicator of strength. “… No silos, no egos—that is way this is supposed to work.”

He also made reference to the economic impact that retail stores have on the economy. “Based on our analysis, retail stores with pharmacies have a total annual economic impact of $2.2 trillion,” said Anderson. This was after he noted that the stores had annual sales of $758 billion, so therefore the effect is almost tripled by pharmacies. For every $1 spent in these stores has a ripple effect of $2.93 throughout the entire economy.

“We do all those things that drive our nation’s economy and produces millions of jobs in this country,” said Anderson. “This is what you do and I think that is pretty amazing.”

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Mylan’s Digitek recalled by Actavis

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Actavis Totowa has notified health care professionals of a Class I nationwide recall of all strengths of Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ drug Digitek.

The drug is used to treat heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.

The product is being recalled due to the possibility that tablets with double the appropriate thickness may contain twice the approved level of active ingredient.

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