PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA urge expanded role for pharmacists in new healthcare models

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Pharmacy groups are advocating that Congress expand the role of pharmacists in new healthcare delivery models.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association, in a joint letter issued Monday, asked the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to use its authority under the Social Security Act to expand the role of pharmacists in new accountable care organization models, community-based transitions of care and bundled payment initiatives. Current Medicare law doesn’t recognize pharmacists as providers, which could limit their participation in new healthcare models, the NACDS and NCPA said. The Innovation Center, as the federal office is known, tests and evaluates new medical care delivery and payment systems.

"Permitting pharmacists to practice to their maximum capabilities within these new delivery models would help increase medication adherence and coordination between healthcare settings, result in higher rates of vaccinations and reduce the burden of the physician shortage, particularly with the influx of new patients in 2014 through the Health Care Marketplaces and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility," the letter read. "Because pharmacists have the proven ability to provide services which lead to better clinical outcomes and lower healthcare costs, we urge the Innovation Center to use its authority to find mechanisms for pharmacists to participate in these programs, such as granting pharmacists provider status for the purpose of participating in Innovation Center projects."

Pharmacists, the groups noted, can help address the problem of medication nonadherence — which, according to some estimates, costs the healthcare system $290 billion per year — by providing services like face-to-face medication therapy management counseling and medication reconciliation, as well as immunizations. The NACDS and NCPA said that following their recommendations would allow pharmacists to better provide those and other services and be reimbursed for them through ACOs and other models.


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PHARMACY

Perrigo launches generic scalp medicine

BY Alaric DeArment

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Drug maker Perrigo has launched a generic drug for treating problems of the scalp, the company said.

Perrigo announced the launch of clobetasol emulsion propionate foam in the 0.05% strength, a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s Olux-E. The drug is used to treat moderate to severe dermatosis of the scalp.

As the first company to file a regulatory approval application for the drug, Perrigo is entitled to 180 days in which to compete exclusively with GlaxoSmithKline’s version. The drug has annual sales of $38 million, according to Symphony Health Solutions.


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Walgreens enables third-party mobile app developers to integrate prescription refill technology

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday made available a new application programming interface that allows third-party mobile app developers to integrate the drug store chain’s prescription refill technology. Developers who have scanning functionality within their apps can easily integrate the API to enable their users to order a prescription refill by scanning the bar code on a Walgreens prescription bottle.

“People continue to become increasingly engaged with their mobile devices and use the technology to help make their day-to-day lives easier,” stated Abhi Dhar, Walgreens e-commerce chief technology officer. “By incorporating the Walgreens Prescription API, mobile app developers are providing users with an easy way to refill prescriptions and help them properly take their medication.”

The Walgreens Prescription API has been adopted by several app developers, including Healthspek and PocketPharmacist. “Walgreens’ leadership position in technology and consumer empowerment fits perfectly with Healthspek’s message to consumers ‘Own Your Chart!’,” noted Randy Farr, president of Healthspek.

"We believe this adds to our goal of helping people better understand and manage their medications [on PocketPharamcist]," added Michael Guren, CEO of Danike, creator of the PocketPharmacist app. 

The Walgreens Prescription API marks the first time such technology is available for adoption among mobile app developers who focus on health and wellness, and it is the second API program offered by Walgreens. Last year, Walgreens launched its QuickPrints SDK and API, which provided third-party developers with the ability to integrate in-store photo services for its users. 

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