PHARMACY

PharmaSmart to grow its blood pressure management systems in U.S. market

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. PharmaSmart International announced last week its intent to penetrate the U.S. market with its blood-pressure management program that has already enjoyed acceptance in the Canadian marketplace, boasting 75 percent penetration.

“Our goal as a company is to change the paradigm in community blood pressure screening,” stated Ashton Maaraba, PharmaSmart’s global vice president of sales and marketing. “We have committed significant resources to ensuring our clients execute at every level, delivering a turnkey program that delivers on the massive blood pressure management opportunity.”

Unlike existing blood pressure programs, which may primarily act as vehicles for third party advertising, PharmaSmart proposes to convert the hypertensive patient into a revenue-generating opportunity, and retain that consumer with an exclusive, pharmacy-branded BP management program, the company stated.

PharmaSmart’s blood pressure management tools and programs allow pharmacies to capitalize on the hypertension opportunity. PharmaSmart’s branded Smart Card offers pharmacists a long-term management tool for their patients that has been found to improve hypertension discovery, consultation, and prescription compliance, all significant challenges in the fight against hypertension, Maaraba noted.   

PharmaSmart’s “pharmacy first/patient first” platform seeks to augment the patient-pharmacist relationship through an education program—both point-of-sale training and continuing education—for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians around hypertension. The program includes PharmaSmart’s patented blood-pressure cuff, patient Smart Card management tool, and a patient web portal.

In Canada, PharmaSmart is present in Rexall, Shoppers Drug Mart, Wal-Mart Canada, Loblaws, Le Group Jean Coutu, Safeway Canada and Calgary Coop, among other pharmacies.

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Doctors stretching schedules, resources to keep up with retail clinics

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK More doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers are stretching their time and resources so they can be even more accessible to patients to stay competitive against the growing retail clinic business, The New York Times reported today.

Many physicians and other providers have reworked their schedules and started adding Web-based services in order to meet the immediate needs of patients, the report said. The higher demand for walk-in and retail-based clinic services stems from cutbacks in healthcare coverage which are causing more people to cover expenses out-of-pocket, the report stated.

Professional general practice and family medical groups are encouraging doctors to open up their practices to more relaxed scheduling—many are being encouraged to accept walk-in patients. The American Academy of Family Physicians, for example, plans to spend $8 million for consultants who will analyze and advise doctors in how to more efficiently provide and offer patient care, reports said.

Furthermore, the American College Of Physicians has begun a push for  patient-centric care—the focus of a policy paper—which urges more flexibility for patient scheduling, and advancing practices with electronic records and e-prescribing.

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Meijer provides free antibiotics, pre-natal vitamin prescriptions; receives recognition from MPCA

BY Jenna Duncan

LANSING, Mich. Meijer has received the Legacy of Leadership award from the Michigan Primary Care Association for its program dispending free antibiotic and free pre-natal vitamins to patients, the company said Thursday.

Meijer was given the award at MPCA’s 29th Annual Distinguished Service Awards luncheon. MPCA is a nonprofit organization representing Michigan’s Community Health Centers and other community community-based health services providers.

“The Michigan Primary Care Association Legacy of Leadership Award annually recognizes the performance of exemplary leadership to benefit Michigan Community Health Center patients, many of whom are low-income and/or uninsured. … MPCA and our 32-member Health Centers applaud [Meijer]’s groundbreaking initiatives to help improve the health of Michigan residents,” Kim Sibilsky, MPCA executive director said.

Meijer initiated the free antibiotics program available to customers throughout the Midwest two years ago. Since its inception, about 2.7 million general antibiotics prescriptions have been filled for free, the company said. Meijer estimated that its customers have saved more than $45 million.

The free pre-natal vitamin program was started this past June. Meijer has said that it has already dispensed more than 50,000 pre-natal vitamin prescriptions for free, saving customers about $700,000.

There are no health insurance coverage or co-pay requirements to sign up for the free antibiotics or free pre-natal vitamins programs at Meijer’s pharmacy, the company said. More information is available through the company’s homepage at www.Meijer.com.

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