PHARMACY

Report: Maryland bill could create hardships for Rx wholesale distributors

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — A Maryland bill that is intended to help pharmacies in managing inventories and avoid potential drug shortages could create hardships for distributors, according to an FDA law blog.

The bill introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates would require wholesale distributors to notify pharmacies at least 30 days before “imposing a limit on the quantity” of medications or devices distributed to the pharmacy. It also would require wholesale distributors to provide regular updates on the quantity of the medication or device available while a limitation is in effect.

However, according to the FDA law blog, the proposed legislation warrants monitoring and will need to be amended to resolve possible conflicts with federal law.

According to the FDA law blog, the proposed bill would not only create hardships for distributors but also could create potential conflicts with Drug Enforcement Administration requirements.

 

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Rite Aid introduces Health Alliance program to enhance patient health, treatment outcomes

BY Antoinette Alexander

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid introduced on Monday a new program, dubbed Rite Aid Health Alliance, which is a health management collaboration among various healthcare providers that provides comprehensive care and support to individuals with chronic and poly-chronic health conditions, and helps them achieve health improvement goals established by their physicians.

Rite Aid’s Health Alliance integrated care model is a first for the drug store industry, the retailer stated, as it uniquely leverages the combined expertise of community pharmacists along with specially trained in-store healthcare coaches.

“At Rite Aid, we’re committed to actively working with our customers to keep them well and that includes developing new ways to improve access to high-quality healthcare,” stated Rite Aid chairman and CEO John Standley. “Through our innovative Rite Aid Health Alliance program, we will help patients with the resources and support necessary to successfully manage their conditions and improve their overall health and wellbeing.”

Through Rite Aid Health Alliance, patients with chronic and poly-chronic conditions, like congestive heart failure, COPD, high cholesterol and diabetes, are recommended to the program by their primary care physician. Rite Aid pharmacists and specially trained care coaches, located in Rite Aid pharmacies, work with the physician and patient on an on-going basis to improve the patient’s overall health and self-management abilities. The care team members collaborate with the patient to establish health goals, eliminate barriers and create a personalized health care action plan in coordination with the patient’s physician.

In addition to Buffalo, N.Y., Rite Aid has also established Rite Aid Health Alliance partnerships with High Point, N.C.-based Cornerstone Health Care and Glendale, Calif.-based Apollo Medical Holdings to provide these services in select Rite Aid pharmacies in Greensboro and High Point, N.C., and the greater Los Angeles area, respectively. Since its inception, Rite Aid Health Alliance has delivered during this pilot period over 2,300 coaching visits to almost 1,500 enrolled patients.

In these markets, Rite Aid provides the care coaches on the team through a partnership with Health Dialog, a provider of healthcare patient support, analytics and decision support. Health Dialog coaches will be available in Rite Aid pharmacies, and specialize in behavior change to help patients address lifestyle health issues.

“We are excited about the results of the program to date and believe it presents a significant opportunity to deliver improved health outcomes for those who need them most. We look forward to bringing this unique healthcare model to more Rite Aid markets and customers in the future,” Standley added.

“As a physician, I know firsthand how much patients here in Buffalo with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension can benefit from having personalized and frequent contact with their very own healthcare team,” added Dr. Raul Vazquez, president of Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network. “Rite Aid’s Health Alliance program serves as an extension of my practice, providing my patients with convenient access to supportive healthcare coaching outside my office. Since partnering with Rite Aid, we’re already seeing some early improvements in the health of my patients and I am looking forward to continued participation in this program.”

The full range of services available to patients participating in Rite Aid Health Alliance includes medication compliance support; comprehensive medication reviews and reconciliation; nutrition and weight management information; disease education; exercise coaching and tobacco cessation support. Records of all interactions, which occur in Rite Aid pharmacies, as well as updates from the physician, are stored electronically, along with patient profiles including medications and lab results. This supports continuity of care and provides convenient access of information to other members of the patient’s healthcare team.

 

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Wegmans opens prescription services to the family pet

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans has expanded its pharmaceutical services to include the family pet, according a recent blog

The supermarket pharmacy is advertising the service as a cheaper alternative to the prices paid at the veterinarian for the same canine/feline pharmaceuticals. Using Heartgard Plus Chew as an example, Wegmans noted that the common vet pricing is $50.20. Wegmans sells the same prescription for $44.99 and a generic equivalent for $19.99. 

"Most common are drugs for heartworm, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, followed by those for anxiety, diabetes, diuretics, ear, heart, hormones, intestinal parasites, thyroid, vitamin/supplements, digestion issues and obesity," Mary Ellen Burris, Wegmans SVP consumer affairs, wrote in her blog. Wegmans has posted a list of the most common prescriptions on its website

In addition to fielding pet prescriptions, Wegmans also allows patients to register their pets as dependents online, where they’ll be able to check status of an order or see which prescriptions are on automated refill, for example. 

"When your pet is sick, you’re already anxious. With the potential savings on these medications, you’ve got one less thing to worry about," Burris concluded.

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