PHARMACY

Professions Quest launches MMO as health professional training tool

BY Michael Johnsen

 

 
 
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. —  The Virginia Serious Game Institute announced Monday that one of its initial high tech startups, Professions Quest, has launched its flagship title Mimycx, a massively multi-player online serious game dedicated to revolutionizing knowledge exchange throughout the healthcare industry; specifically in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, public health, allied health and veterinary colleges.
 
Mimycx provides an interactive learning environment that brings multiple students from 16 different healthcare professions together to solve real-world healthcare scenarios and help master interprofessional education collaborative core competencies. Mimycx will debut at the 2015 IPEC Institute in Herndon, Va., and the 2015 Joint AACOM & AODME Annual Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., later this month.
 
“A key goal in the design of Mimycx is the development of a new approach to interprofessional education learning that creates benefits not yet discovered through any other virtual or e-learning educational vehicle,” said Scott Martin, founding director, Virginia Serious Game Institute. 
 
“Prince William County encourages technological innovation, growth and expansion," said Corey Stewart, chairman, Prince William Board of County Supervisors. "The Virginia Serious Game Institute captures our shared vision to help small businesses realize their market potential and growth opportunities.”   
 
“Key to our success is the Virginia Serious Game Institute, which has been instrumental in our ‘accelerated’ performance as a new small business,” added Lucinda Maine, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy EVP and CEO of Professions Quest.  “The public release of Mimycx marks an important milestone achievement for Professions Quest and Mimycx.”
 
The Mimycx game quests are set in a futuristic environment, which allows students to step outside the traditional realm of healthcare education while learning new communication techniques and how to interact, collaborate and form cohesive teams. Users can explore the world of Mimycx on their own, form healthcare teams of up to five members and take on quests together, while simultaneously being evaluated on their performance and interaction.
 
Mimycx customers will receive two, one-hour faculty development sessions included in their product license.  Following the launch, Professions Quest will release a new scenario or quest, every six weeks in 2015, for a total of eight this year. 
 
 

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Aurobindo Pharma approved for generic cefixime

BY DSN STAFF

DAYTON, N.J. — Aurobindo Pharmacy on Monday announced that it has received the first abbreviated new drug approval from the Food and Drug Administration for cefixime for oral suspension in 100- and 200-mg dosage strength. 

Cefixime is the therapeutic equivalent to Suprax and is used treat infections of the ear, urinary tract, and upper respiratory tract.

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The 2015 NCPA legislative game plan

BY B. Douglas Hoey

Certain aspects of sporting events are similar to governmental advocacy. In both instances there are winners and losers. While many factors determine the outcome, the victor usually does a better job of executing their game plan. For example, in this year’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks a game-saving interception by a Patriots defender was the result of tremendous preparation and effort combined with a play calling misstep by the opponent. Anything less and the Seahawks likely wins the game.  
 
Independent community pharmacies have been engaged in a prolonged, multifaceted battle to continue serving patients despite the interference of giant pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that administer prescription drug plans. The lack of government oversight enables PBMs to play a one-sided game often at the expense of everyone else, especially community pharmacies. To level the playing field community pharmacies must convince government officials to adopt regulatory or legislative solutions, while the PBMs only have to maintain the status quo. 
 
What’s the best strategy for community pharmacies to achieve their objectives? 
 
First, prioritize. While there are no shortage of challenges, identifying the items of most importance to the membership with the best odds of being changed on the legislative and regulatory “wish list” can ensure they receive more time and resources. Second, offer pro-patient fixes which are based on a simple premise – if you enact fair-minded policies that allow pharmacy small business owners to compete then patients will see their access to quality prescription drug services expand, as oppose to contract.
 
The National Community Pharmacy Association (NCPA) represents America’s approximately 23,000 community pharmacies and their patients. While we are guided by the NCPA board comprised of pharmacy owners from across the country, NCPA wanted to get insight from a larger pool of our members in helping to set our 2015 priorities.
 
Consequently, NCPA asked our members to identify their most pressing public policy concerns. The top two issues were achieving more transparent and frequently updated MAC reimbursement benchmark for pharmacies (particularly for multi-source generic prescription drugs that experience sudden, dramatic price spikes but for which it takes PBMs weeks or months to update reimbursement); and incorporating an effective “any willing pharmacy” provision for Medicare Part D’s "preferred pharmacy" plans. These results come just in time for the start of the 114th U.S. Congress’ two-year session. 
 
So far, we are off to a fast start. The recently-introduced H.R. 244, The MAC Transparency Act, would go a long way toward ensuring that PBMs reimburse community pharmacies more equitably for generic drugs. The bill would expand on and codify a requirement Medicare will be implementing for the 2016 plan year at NCPA’s request – that Part D plans update reimbursement benchmarks, such as maximum allowable cost (MAC) every seven days. Also just introduced is H.R. 793, The Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act, which would implement an “any willing pharmacy” provision to preferred pharmacy networks in medically underserved areas. 
 
We are hopeful these two important priorities can be addressed before the 114th Congress adjourns in late 2016, but it will take a considerable, unified and coordinated effort from NCPA, its members and other pharmacy allies to prevail against the inevitable push-back from PBMs. Let’s make the plays to win our legislative Super Bowl. 
 
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