PHARMACY

PharmaSmart teams up with hypertension campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A company that makes health kiosks has joined a campaign to promote blood pressure management among patients with hypertension.

PharmaSmart announced Thursday that it joined the "Team Up. Pressure Down." program, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts initiative, also lead by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The program offers such resources as video vignettes and conversation starters designed to encourage and support pharmacists in providing counseling services to patients with high blood pressure. The campaign’s stated goal is to prevent 1 million heart attacks by 2017.

"Together with Team Up. Pressure Down., we offer pharmacies an accredited suite of education and support materials, along with validated clinical tools to aid in hypertension screening, intervention and therapeutic monitoring," PharmaSmart president and CEO Fred Sarkis said. "It’s a very strong partnership for us."

PharmaSmart COO Ashton Maaraba will lead the partnership. The company said it had an existing campaign nationwide to promote validated, pharmacy-based hypertension management as a key element of emerging team care models, and that its representatives were working with healthcare providers and pharmacy retail chains to advance Team Up. Pressure Down.’s message.

"This initiative is an overarching point of differentiation for us," Maaraba said. "It is a clear proof point that PharmaSmart offers a combination of innovative clinical services, biometric screening and health information technology that places the pharmacy — ‘the most profitable center in a retail store’ — in a modern-day power position."


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PHARMACY

CDC study finds drops in cholesterol levels since 1988

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — An uptick in the use of cholesterol drugs since the late 1980s and changes in Americans’ diets may account for a fall in cholesterol levels, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study, published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, examined three CDC National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, from 1988-1994, 1999-2002 and 1997-2010, looking at levels of "bad" low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, serum total cholesterol and "good" high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. During the 22-year period, LDL cholesterol levels fell from 129 to 116; TC fell from 206 to 196; and HDL cholesterol levels increased from 50.7 to 52.5. While triglycerides — another lipid linked to heart disease — increased from 118 in 1988-1994 to 123 in 1999-2002, they fell to 110 in 1997-2010.  

The study noted falls in levels of harmful lipids among obese adults during the 22-year period while also finding increases in the use of lipid-lowering medications, from 3.4% in 1988-1994 to 15.5% in 1997-2010. Published reports also noted that the elimination of trans fats from many popular foods could be a factor.


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CVS Caremark names EVP specialty pharmacy

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced on Thursday the appointment of Alan Lotvin to the position of EVP specialty pharmacy.

Lotvin has extensive experience in the pharmacy benefit management and specialty pharmacy industries. Prior to joining CVS Caremark, Lotvin was president and CEO of Icore Healthcare, a Magellan Health Services company. Previously, he has held roles as president and COO of M|C Communications, a medical education provider, and served in various senior management positions at Medco Health Solutions, including president of specialty pharmacy services.

"Specialty pharmacy is an increasingly important growth area for CVS Caremark, and Alan’s in-depth experience and knowledge of the industry make him uniquely qualified to lead this portion of our business," said Jon Roberts, president of the CVS Caremark PBM business. "His expertise will enable us to continue to grow our specialty pharmacy leadership and identify opportunities for ongoing innovation to enable us to better help patients dealing with complex, debilitating diseases."

"I am looking forward to working with the team at CVS Caremark to continue to grow and build upon the company’s specialty pharmacy offerings," Lotvin stated. "With specialty drugs estimated to account for seven of the top 10 drugs in the United States by 2016, we need to continue to develop programs and solutions that will help our clients improve outcomes for these complicated diseases while managing cost and ensuring appropriate utilization."

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