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Pharmacy franchise networks expanding medication therapy

BY Jim Frederick

ST. LOUIS —Two franchise pharmacy networks owned by Cardinal Health are laying claim to an industry-leading position in their delivery of medication therapy management services to a select group of patients covered by the Medicare Part D drug benefit program.

The franchise groups, Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy, have embraced the MTM concept and are expanding their out-reach efforts with patients, according to Bill Rampy, senior vice president of franchise operations for Medicine Shoppe International. For the second year in a row, he said, the two pharmacy networks scored highest in follow-through among pharmacy retailers participating in the MTM program sponsored by Community Care Rx, the pharmacy-sanctioned Medicare prescription drug plan.

“In 2007, Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy stores completed the largest number and percentage of available MTM cases in the Community CCRx MTM program, compared to other pharmacy groups in their category, and achieved an approximate 20 percent increase in their performance from 2006 to 2007,” the company noted. “Additionally, three of the top 20 performers for the Community CCRx MTM program were Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy pharmacists.”

Through MTM sessions, Medicine Shoppe and Medicap pharmacists have counseled patients on many medication issues, including potentially fatal drug interactions.

In addition, several MTM sessions have been able to identify patients that are non-compliant with their medication or could save money on their prescriptions.

“The basic principles of MTM parallel the values that define the Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy brands, and help our pharmacies to continue providing patients with the highest level of personalized care,” Rampy said.

Over the next year, he added, Medicine Shoppe will work with payers to drive the MTM concept beyond its original role as a service for Medicare Part D patients. “As pharmacy reimbursements continue to shrink, it is increasingly important for community pharmacies to leverage new opportunities for growth,” Rampy noted. “MTM is an excellent opportunity to generate new revenue, as well as deepen customers’ view of the pharmacist as an essential healthcare resource.”

CCRx has proven a fertile launching pad for MTM. The company was launched in 2005 by the National Community Pharmacists Association as a Medicare-endorsed prescription drug plan, or PDP, in collaboration with MemberHealth and Computer Sciences Corp. The PDP encourages retail pharmacists across the country to enroll qualifying Medicare patients in MTM, and to use a Web-based clinical management system called MirixaPro to deliver patient education and intervention services.

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MinuteClinic moves forward with Massachusetts plans

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS MinuteClinic, a clinic operator owned by CVS Caremark, has applied for its first 10 clinic sites in Massachusetts and expects the opening dates to be in late summer to early fall.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, in January, state health officials approved regulations allowing for limited service medical clinics, marking the end of a long review process that included two public hearings and the submission of hundreds of pages of testimony regarding the regulations.

MinuteClinic stated that it is working with the Massachusetts Department of Health and “is confident that the sites meet the regulatory requirements and will receive approval to move forward.”

The new in-store clinics are planned for CVS stores in Ashland, Beverly, Bridgewater, Danvers, Medford, Medway, Stoughton, Taunton, Tewkesbury and Westford.

The sites are the first of a total of 25 to 30 the company expects to open in Massachusetts by the end of 2008.

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Hallmark exits online flower and gift business

BY Doug Desjardins

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Hallmark is exiting the online gift and flower business, citing a less-than-acceptable return on investment. The move will result in the loss of about 100 jobs at its corporate headquarters and distribution center in Memphis, Tenn., though Hallmark said it would try to find new jobs in the company for those workers.

Hallmark started its online flower business in 2001 and its online and catalog gift and decor business in 2005. The decision will not affect its online business for greeting cards and stationery. A company spokeswoman said Hallmark decided to shutter the flower and gift divisions after determining they “couldn’t guarantee the results we needed.”

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