PHARMACY

Report: Take Care Health Systems seeks joint ventures with hospitals

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK In an effort to further expand its retail-based clinic business, Walgreens’ Take Care Health Systems reportedly is considering financial joint ventures with hospitals, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report.

"We’re getting a lot of interest from hospital systems," Take Care Health Systems CEO Peter Miller told Down Jones Newswires in an interview.

Miller declined to elaborate but said such partnerships could take the form of joint ventures, franchises or other business models where hospitals may assume some of the risk associated with a retail-based clinic.

Miller was quoted as saying that the pacts would have to create a "winning" situation for both parties and that such potential deals would help its Take Care Clinics expand from the existing 359 locations in 19 states.

 

Meanwhile, Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic, told Dow Jones Newswires that, while it is interested in expanding its electronic record sharing and other patient-care activities with more hospitals, it isn’t interested in financial partnerships with hospitals systems for its clinics.

 

 

Walmart, which currently has 74 independently operated in-store clinics, noted that it has been contacted by more than 400 hospitals and health systems nationwide and is currently in talks with "dozens" of operators, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

 

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PBGH reports cost-effective diabetes management in Pittsburgh

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH Patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in Pittsburgh were more likely than similar patients nationwide to receive A1c, blood glucose, serum cholesterol, ophthalmologic or urine glucose tests than those in other areas, but best-performing regions use the same management services at a higher rate, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health.

 

The report, based on data from 2007 and 2009, also found that the disease was managed in a more cost-effective manner in the Pittsburgh region, compared with other regions around the country. The report is meant to help employers assess whether their diabetes management strategies are working to change employees’ behavior, improve health and contain their healthcare costs.

 

 

“In only our second year of analyzing and comparing this data, we’re already seeing a positive trend in the management of diabetes in the Pittsburgh region,” PBGH executive director M. Christine Whipple said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to analyzing the 2009 data, which will give us three consecutive years of trends and enable us to say definitively what direction diabetes management is taking in the Pittsburgh region.”

 

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Shoppers Drug Mart responds to Ontario’s revised generic pricing rules

BY Allison Cerra

ONTARIO Canadian retail pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart has responded to the Ontario government’s decision to further drug reform measures in the province by reducing generic drug reimbursements for Ontario Drug Benefit Program beneficiaries.

The Ontario Liberal Government announced Wednesday that generic prescription drug prices for patients that benefit from the province’s drug benefit program will be reduced from the current level of 50% of the equivalent brand name price to 25% of the equivalent brand name price. The announcement also indicated that planned reductions in generic prescription drug pricing would also be extended to the private sector over a multi-year period. Shoppers Drug Mart said that such changes will impact its sales and profitability and the government “will further interfere in the commercial relationships between generic manufacturers and pharmacies” and that the government will play an increased role in the regulation of private sector drug benefit programs –– programs, Shoppers said, the government does not fund or pay for.

“These announced reductions in drug pricing and pharmacy reimbursement, on the heels of significant cuts just four years ago, will only serve to further commoditize healthcare and the practice of community pharmacy at a time when Ontarians need it most,” said Jurgen Schreiber, Shoppers Drug Mart president and CEO. “These announced changes reinforce our view that in the long-term, the successful players in retail pharmacy will be those with size, scale and an ability to leverage operating efficiencies. Shoppers Drug Mart, with the largest integrated pharmacy network in the country and the leading market share, will be challenged in the short-term to adjust to the changes announced [Wednesday], but remains well-positioned for the long-term.”

Discussions regarding changes to the Ontario Drug Benefit Program have been underway for more than nine months, Shoppers said.

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