PHARMACY

Patients’ willingness to embrace personalized medicine speaks to larger trend

BY Antoinette Alexander

A recent study commissioned by Intel revealed that patients are ready to embrace personalized care, all the way down to medications for their specific genetic makeup, and they want the freedom to get health care wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.

Why is this important? Personalization — whether it is customized coupons and marketing or prescription medications — is here and will be critical in 2014. Consumers want more, and in the face of rising health care costs and a strained healthcare system, their healthcare is no exception.

As the study found, patients are not only ready to embrace personalized medicine but they are willing to share personal information, such as lab results, to advance the field of medicine and cut medical costs throughout the entire system.

The reality is that personalized medicine isn’t simply a fad. It is a revolution in patient care and medication management. Pharmacogenomics, which refers to the testing of individuals to help select the best therapy for a particular patient, is on its way to transforming both the practice of pharmacy and the way medicines are prescribed, prepared and dispensed for many chronic diseases.
 
For example, regional player Kerr Drug announced last year that it was collaborating with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy on a study to explore the feasibility of a pharmacogenetic program for the blood-thinning drug Plavix. Studies have shown that certain genetic variations between individuals can affect their responses to Plavix.

"Because pharmacists have unique expertise in medication use and are point-of-care service providers, they can play an important role in facilitating pharmacogenetic testing and more personalized health care," had stated Kerr Health EVP Rebecca Chater when announcing the news last year.

More recently, a new study conducted by researchers at CVS Caremark and Brigham and Women’s Hospital explored the impact of genetic testing on prescribing patterns for cardiovascular therapy and found that there is an opportunity to improve upon the information physicians and patients receive on the evolving body of evidence for pharmacogenomics.

Noted Troyen A. Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, "We’re entering an age when we can begin to create tailored treatment regimens for individual patients, but a genetic test is only valuable when providers and their patients can understand and act on the results."

There’s no doubt that the industry is entering an age of personalization — on several fronts.

 

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PHARMACY

Irish High Court approves Perrigo-Elan deal

BY Alaric DeArment

ALLEGAN, Mich. — The Irish High Court has approved Perrigo’s pending acquisition of Irish drug maker Elan, the companies said Friday.

U.S.-based Perrigo said in July that it would acquire Elan for $8.6 billion. Elan is best known for the multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri (natalizumab), marketed and distributed by Biogen Idec, while Perrigo manufactures various branded and generic prescription and OTC drugs. The deal between the two companies will give Perrigo a claim to "double-digit" royalties for Tysabri, CEO Joseph Papa said when the deal was announced.

With the Irish court’s approval, the two companies have met all regulatory approval requirements for the deal, they said. Elan’s shareholders approved the deal last month.

 

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Navarro Discount Pharmacy implements EZ Meds packaging system to boost Rx adherence

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI, Fla. — Navarro Discount Pharmacy, which operates 33 locations in Southern Florida, has introduced a compliance packaging program, EZ Meds Medicine Packaging System, that organizes a patient’s prescription medications into individual packets with labels and instructions.

“Lack of medication adherence has serious health implications and is the No. 1 reason why people become hospitalized. People taking medications face many challenges, such as consistent timing, interactions with food or other medicines taken and not understanding the need to take their medicine as prescribed,” stated Albert Garcia, Navarro’s EVP of pharmacy and president of Navarro Health Services. “Opportunities, such as EZ Meds, make it easier for people to adhere to their prescription regimens and keep track of their medications thus improving their quality of life and health outcomes.”

Launched by Navarro Health Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Navarro Discount Pharmacy, EZ Meds is powered by the Parata EZ Med Machine purchased by Navarro for $500,000. The equipment is located in Navarro’s 2,500-sq.-ft. fulfillment center facility at its Medley headquarters where prescriptions are centralized for all of its pharmacy locations, maximizing efficiencies and allowing in-store pharmacists to spend more quality time with customers ensuring world class care.

How it works: Upon receiving a prescription, the Navarro pharmacy staff determines what medications can be packaged with the EZ Med Machine, which then packages the medicine according to dosage. A reusable dispenser box is provided including a roll of EZ Meds packets. Prescriptions enrolled in the EZ Meds program can be picked up at any Navarro location or delivered to a home or office.

 

 

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