PHARMACY

Redding Rancheria Tribal Health Clinic implements Innovation’s PharmAssist Symphony system

BY Alaric DeArment

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. — A Native American tribal clinic in Redding, Calif., that fills some 300 prescriptions per day has adopted a pharmacy automation system made by Innovation, the company said Friday.

Innovation said the Redding Rancheria Tribal Health Clinic, affiliated with the Indian Health Service, had implemented the PharmAssist Symphony workflow management system to automate prescription fulfillment, saying the goal was to enhance patient safety, remodel internal processes and staff member roles, implement quality reporting, reduce patient wait times and improve pharmaceutical care overall.

“Due to our prescription mix, it’s critical that Symphony handles prescription grouping so efficiently, and it’s particularly important at patient pickup when staff has to gather all the prescriptions for a specific patient,” clinic pharmacy director Terry Lerma said. “The combination of Innovation’s Patient Notification Display and Symphony’s Will Call and e-Signature Capture modules has really streamlined the pickup process, helping us cut our wait times and improve the customer experience.”

The system integrates with the clinic’s QS/1 pharmacy management system for real-time prescription order flow and Ateb’s Pharmacy Line Interactive Voice Response system for refill management. The clinic also plans to install the PharmAssist ROBOTx system later this year.

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PhRMA honors scientists that helped discover Januvia

BY Alaric DeArment

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — The main trade group representing branded drug makers gave an award to two Merck scientists who helped discover an oral medication for Type 2 diabetes.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America announced Thursday that it would give its Discoverers Award to Nancy Thornberry and Ann Weber, who led the discovery of Merck’s Januvia (sitagliptin), a once-daily pill for Type 2 diabetes designed to control glucose when combined with diet and exercise. PhRMA said that while women have won the Discoverers Award before, this marked the first time in the award’s 24-year history that it went to women alone.

“Because of the work of Ann and Nancy and their team, many diabetes patients around the world have a new medicine in their fight against this serious chronic disease,” PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani said. “Their work stands on its own but also represents the skill, vision and effort of research scientists throughout our industry who are dedicated to improving patient health.”

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Credit Suisse: Rising gas prices may rev drug engine

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Drug stores may be best positioned to navigate any headwinds whipped up by rising fuel costs and may even benefit from them, a Credit Suisse analysis published Friday found.

“We expect the industry to fully pass through front-end inflation and see no material impact from higher gas prices,” wrote Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly. “Consequently, we remain positive on the drug stores and view the group as one of the most attractive sectors in retail today. [The channel] provides insulation from inflationary headwinds, possesses a unique industry catalyst in the 2012 generic wave, [CVS Caremark and Walgreens] have company-specific drivers of upside, and valuations are still reasonable.”

As a channel, drug stores have been most successful in passing through product cost inflation, especially considering the weak relationship between price and volume at drug stores vs. supermarkets or overall retail, Kelly wrote. “In other words, drug stores historically have passed through inflation without a meaningful decline in volume. We attribute this success to the fact that the industry competes on convenience more than price, has a natural flow of pharmacy traffic and has a low average ticket.”

Kelly noted that Walgreens’ front-end comps have either been stable or actually accelerated during each of the last five spikes in gas prices, including the 2008 summer peak above $4 per gallon.

Credit Suisse is projecting a conservative 2.5% front-end same-store sales growth across both CVS and Walgreens, though comparable-store sales growth of between 3% and 5% front-end comps wouldn’t be out of the question, Kelly added.

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