PHARMACY

NACDS’ Industry Profile reports on retail pharmacy numbers

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. U.S. retail pharmacists dispensed more than 3.4 billion prescriptions in 2006, according to the newly released 10th edition of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation 2007 Chain Pharmacy Industry Profile, and nearly three of every four of those scripts came from a chain drug, supermarket or mass merchandise pharmacy.

The nation’s 56,000 retail chain pharmacies were responsible for filling 2.4 billion prescriptions, the report found, or 72 percent of the total retail script count. In a statement released today, NACDS also revealed that the pharmacy industry generated more than $716 billion in sales last year.

Researchers who compiled the survey also reported that the average person fills five written prescriptions every year. The average distance from any residence to a pharmacy is 2.36 miles, “indicating that community pharmacy is most convenient among the health care providers closest to the American people,” NACDS noted.

The Digest also turned up evidence of the pharmacist’s continuing evolution to a larger, more inclusive role in the patient’s total health care needs. “Integrity ratings revealed that pharmacists are the second most highly regarded health care professionals at 73 percent, the highest rating for pharmacists in 25 years,” the report stated.

The latest survey also found resilience in front-end merchandising among traditional drug stores—with strong sales in grocery categories such as bottled water, tea and fresh produce [see separate story].

The guide contains extensive analysis of current trends in the chain pharmacy industry, including data on financial performance and operational characteristics. Produced by the NACDS Foundation in partnership with the NACDS Economics Department, the Profile was supported by a grant from NACDS along with partnering companies including Ortho-McNeil Janssen Pharmaceutical Services, Ortho Biotech Products, L.P., and Centocor, Inc.

“The data will foster a greater understanding of how community pharmacy contributes to the public good, and the enhanced role it can play in health care in the future,” said NACDS Foundation Phil Schneider.

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BMS to acquire biologics developer for $430 million

BY Drew Buono

PRINCETON, N.J. Bristol-Myers Squibb has signed an agreement with Adnexus Therapeutics, under which BMS will acquire Adnexus, a developer of a new therapeutic class of biologics called Adnectins.

Under the agreement, Adnexus will become a subsidiary of BMS and advance BMS’ biologics, with its Phase I oncology biologic, Angiocept.  BMS will acquire all of Adnexus’ issued and outstanding shares of stock for $430 million.  There also is another $75 million that could be paid to Adnexus, in three separate payments, depending on development and regulatory milestones.

“Bringing Adnexus into the Bristol-Myers Squibb family builds upon a successful and productive collaboration between the two companies in oncology and is an important step in accelerating the strategic transformation of our pharmaceutical business to a biopharma business model,” said Jim Cornelius, chief executive officer of BMS.

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Building new bridges to e-prescribing, SureScripts turns to vendors for advice

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. SureScripts, the pharmacy-sanctioned electronic prescription platform provider, revealed today the formation of a 10-member advisory group charged with spurring the nationwide adoption of e-prescribing.

Composed of technology and electronic communications experts, the Prescriber Vendor Advisory Council will work with SureScripts on programs to boost the use of e-prescribing by U.S. physicians, the company said in a statement. “As part of its mission, the council will provide insight on key variables that are known to impact a physician’s decision to begin e-prescribing and their level of satisfaction once they start,” explained SureScripts spokesman Rob Cronin.

Members of the council are experts in the design and application of information technology used by physicians, according to the company. The group will convene this week, and will focus on such areas as technology design and programs to support the adoption by doctors of e-prescribing software. Together with SureScripts, the new advisory council will explore such topics as “how changes in electronic prescribing technology and making fuller use of pharmacy interoperability can improve the … workflow by professionals in the physician’s office and behind the pharmacy counter,” Cronin noted.

“Even the most compelling of new technologies will invariably face obstacles that slow adoption, and this has never been more true than in health care,” said Rick Ratliff, the company’s chief operating officer. “SureScripts will work with its Prescriber Vendor Advisory Council to identify and address these obstacles.”

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