PHARMACY

NACDS launches mobile app for Annual Meeting

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on Tuesday the launch of its 2011 Annual Meeting mobile Web-based application, which is designed to enhance attendees’ efficiency and experience at the NACDS Annual Meeting from April 30 to May 3 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In addition, the NACDS mobile website, m.NACDS.org, has been updated with information about the Annual Meeting and all 2011 NACDS events.

First introduced for the 2010 NACDS Annual Meeting, the app has been an important tool for applying today’s technology to NACDS’ meeting format. NACDS also created similar apps for both the 2010 Marketplace Conference and Pharmacy & Technology Conference. Unveiled earlier this year, m.NACDS.org serves as a "guide on the go" to NACDS meetings, advocacy and public relations. This year’s Annual Meeting attendees will find an updated schedule, floor plan, list of participants and other information about the upcoming event on the mobile website. The site specifically is designed for ease of use on any smartphone with a Web browser.

The NACDS mobile app is compatible with most smartphone platforms, including iPhone, Droid and Blackberry devices, and can be downloaded for free on the Annual Meeting website: NACDSannual.org.

"NACDS is committed to bringing a cutting-edge approach to its member programs and services," stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. "NACDS continues to leverage technology to continuously enhance the meeting experience."

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IMS Institute: Rx drug spend experiences slower growth

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — U.S. spending on drugs grew 2.3% to $307.4 billion in 2010, according to a new report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, part of industry research firm IMS Health.

The growth significantly was lower than the 5.1% growth seen in 2009, and the volume of prescription drugs consumed overall also rose at historically low levels. The report, “The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2010,” attributed the slower growth to a combination of increased use of generics, loss of patent protection for branded drugs, decreased demand, a 4.2% decrease in the number of doctors’ office visits with a result in fewer new therapy starts and less spending on new drugs, which in part resulted from problems in the economy.

Of the almost 4 billion prescriptions filled through retail channels, chain drug stores were the top choice, thanks to convenience, their acquisitions of independent drug stores and the availability of generic drugs. Overall, chain drug stores increased their market share by 0.5%.

The top five therapy classes last year were cancer drugs, which saw $22.3 billion in spending; respiratory drugs, at $19.3 billion; lipid regulators, at $18.7 billion; diabetes drugs, at $16.9 billion; and antipsychotic drugs, at $16.1 billion. Spending growth ranged from 0.9% for lipid regulators to 12.5% for diabetes drugs, though despite having the highest sales, cancer drugs grew by only 3.5%. Spending on branded drugs decreased by 0.7%, while spending on generics increase by 4.5% for branded generics and 21.7% for unbranded generics. Generics now account for 78% of all retail prescriptions dispensed.

“It became apparent in 2010 that the healthcare landscape is shifting in significant ways,” IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics research development director Michael Kleinrock said. “Physicians and patients have more therapy options than ever, and yet spending on medicines is rising at historic lows with the impact of patent expiries and reduced patient activity. The long-term effect on patient health and few doctor office visits and new therapy starts is unclear and requires closer attention.”

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Forest purchases rights to azimilide

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Drug maker Forest Labs has acquired worldwide rights to a drug developed by Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals for treating arrhythmia.

Forest said Tuesday that it had purchased the rights to azimilide from Blue Ash Therapeutics and had been assigned a license agreement between Blue Ash and Warner Chilcott. Forest will assume responsibility for all future development and commercialization, including costs. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to have acquired the worldwide rights to azimilide,” Forest president and CEO Howard Solomon said. “Azimilide is a well-studied drug [that] has been reviewed in the past by the [Food and Drug Administration] as an anti-arrhythmic treatment for patients with a history of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias and who have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a group for which there are currently no approved anti-arrhythmics.”

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