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NCPA, APhA members to play critical role in government’s Million Hearts campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As part of the launch of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts campaign on Tuesday, HHS identified several key association partners, including the National Community Pharmacist Association and the American Pharmacists Association.

“NCPA enthusiastically supports the Million Hearts Initiative and will encourage all 23,000 independent community pharmacies to become involved," NCPA president Bob Greenwood said. “Many community pharmacists currently offer disease state management programs supporting the Million Hearts goal. These include blood pressure and lipid monitoring, smoking cessation services, and NCPA’s new Simplify My Meds adherence program, which provides pharmacists with tools to coordinate a patient’s refills to occur on a single day and boost medication adherence."

“The Million Hearts Initiative presents an opportunity for pharmacists to reach out to their patients with a range of pharmacy-based cardiovascular maintenance services,” APhA EVP and CEO Thomas Menighan said. “The HHS, CDC and CMS have asked APhA pharmacists to be principal partners in this initiative, along with the [American Medical Association] and the [American Nurses Association], recognizing the important role we play in patient care. Pharmacists are ideally positioned to help manage blood pressure and cholesterol medication therapy and empower patients to take control of their cardiovascular health by adhering to their medication regimens.”

Million Hearts is a private-public joint initiative that aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. By empowering Americans to make healthy choices and improving care across independent pharmacies and Walgreens, a chain partner also identified Tuesday, Million Hearts strives to achieve the following specific goals by 2017:

  • Daily supplementation of 81 mg aspirin by 65% of people at high risk, up from a baseline of 47% today;

  • Blood pressure control by 65% of high-risk people from a baseline of 46%;

  • Effective treatment of high cholesterol (from 33% to 65%);

  • Reduce smoking prevalence (from 19% to 17%);

  • Reduce average daily sodium intake by 20% — Americans on average consumer 3.5 g of sodium per day; and

  • Realize a 50% reduction in artificial trans fat consumption, which today represents 1% of calories consumed per day.

“Through this public-private partnership, Million Hearts focuses on the areas that will save the most lives. It leverages and aligns current investments and is a great example of getting more health value from our existing health investments,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Thomas Frieden said. “If we succeed in achieving our Million Hearts goals, 10 million more Americans with high blood pressure will have it under control, 20 million more Americans with high cholesterol will have it under control, and 4 million fewer Americans will smoke by 2017.”

CDC is announcing a $2 million Pharmacy Outreach Project to team up with pharmacists to provide additional advice and support to patients diagnosed with high blood pressure. In addition, CDC is announcing $4.2 million in funds to seven national networks of community-based organizations to support, disseminate and amplify the reach of the Community Transformation Grant program. Later this month, CDC will announce another $100 million in grants to communities across the country focused on reducing smoking, improving nutrition and promoting blood pressure control.

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Archives of Internal Medicine: Pharmacy transforming beyond dispensing to ‘more clinical, patient-centered role’

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has praised a review article published in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine, which stated that community pharmacists figure prominently in the successful management of cardiovascular disease risk factors in outpatients, such as reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol.

“This article provides further evidence of the tremendous value of pharmacy in helping patients lead healthier lives, and in helping to reduce the necessity of more costly forms of care. The article notes the accessibility of pharmacists, and that point is underscored by the fact that nearly all Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy. Partnering with community pharmacy continues to emerge as a powerful strategy for improving health and healthcare delivery,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

"The traditional view of the pharmacist’s role in primary care is medication distribution,” the article stated. “Although this role remains an important part of the activity of a pharmacist, evidence documented in our systematic review and previous reviews demonstrates a transformation of pharmacy practice toward a more clinical, patient-centered role and a collaborative approach toward pharmacist-physician in patient care.”

The review article reflected analysis of 30 randomized controlled trials, including interventions conducted exclusively by a pharmacist or those conducted by a pharmacist in collaboration with a physician or nurse. Studies involving community pharmacies were well represented in the review, with an enhanced presence for community-pharmacy-related studies among recent years.

“Pharmacists are highly accessible healthcare professionals, and because of their knowledge of drug therapy and their computerized records of medications, they are particularly well positioned to provide the necessary medication instructions to patients to improve safe medication use and are in collaboration with primary care physicians to assist in preventive CVD care,” the article stated. “The integration of the pharmacist in the care of outpatients should be considered as a valuable solution for improving the management of CVD factors."

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Pharmavite announces new Alabama manufacturing facility

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — Pharmavite late Tuesday announced it has chosen Opelika, Ala., as the location for its new manufacturing and packaging facility.

“This is an important step in the growth of Pharmavite and we are very excited to soon become part of the Opelika and greater Alabama community,” Pharmavite COO Mark Walsh said. “Our new Opelika facility will allow us to have manufacturing capacity near the East coast markets, which make up a significant portion of our business.”

Pharmavite initially will be investing approximately $74 million in capital during the first year and based on future growth, expect to add to this investment over the coming years.

Pharmavite plans to break ground on the 330,000-sq.-ft. facility later this year. Once operational in early 2013, the facility is expected to employ approximately 280 employees in the first year of operation and based on future growth expects to add employees in the coming years. Pharmavite is currently working directly with the State of Alabama’s Economic Development agency and local officials in Opelika to plan a groundbreaking event in the fall.

“Our goal is to create the model manufacturing facility for the entire vitamin and supplement industry that will produce the highest quality products,” stated Lance Buchanan, director of plant operations at Pharmavite. “It will feature state-of-the-art technology and will be the first major vitamin and supplement manufacturing facility in the United States to be LEED certified.”

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