PHARMACY

Rite Aid expands list of discount drugs available with RX Savings Card

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Thursday expanded the list of generic medications to more than 500 available at significant savings through its free RX Savings Card.

“The Rite Aid RX Savings Card offers the best overall value to our uninsured patients, those without coverage for certain drugs and those who have reached their benefit limits,” Bill Wolfe, Rite Aid group vice president, pharmacy said. “In just a few months, members have already saved over $15 million on their prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and Rite Aid Brand items that are already a value over national brands.”

The card, which requires no membership fee and is free to anyone who enrolls, offers significant savings on more than 10,000 prescription drugs at all Rite Aid drug stores nationwide. It also provides an immediate 10 percent discount on more than 3,200 Rite Aid brand products, including 1,500 over-the-counter medications.

Benefits of the free card include:

• Access to more than 500 generic medications at $8.99 for a 30-day supply or $15.99 for a 90-day supply for each prescription;

• A 20 percent discount on all other generic medications and brand drug prescriptions;

• A 20 percent discount on flu shots and other immunizations by Rite Aid pharmacists (availability based on state regulations);

• A 30-day supply of select generic oral contraceptives for $19.99; and

• A10 percent savings on more than 3,200 Rite Aid brand products, which include more than 1,500 over-the-counter medications.

“Many Americans are without health insurance, even though they may be steadily employed,” Wolfe said. “Combine that with the increasing cost of living in general, and there is a serious need for a card like this to help people maintain access to their most important healthcare needs and medications. … That’s why our list of 30- and 90-day generics at $8.99 and $15.99 cuts across most therapeutic categories and includes some of the most widely used generic drugs such as the common antibiotics amoxicillin and cephalexin, amlodipine or simvastatin to treat cardiovascular conditions, loratadine for allergies, ranitidine for gastrointestinal conditions, and sertraline which is an antidepressant.”

Customers can get a list of the medications covered by the Rite Aid RX Savings Card at any Rite Aid pharmacy. Patients using the card also receive a 20 percent discount on flu shots and immunizations given directly by Rite Aid pharmacists. Currently more than 1,300 Rite Aid pharmacists at over 1,000 Rite Aid stores across the country are trained to give immunizations including influenza, pneumonia, tetanus, hepatitis A and B and others to patients age 11 or older (patients must be age 18 or older in some states) all year.

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PHARMACY

CVS Caremark taps Brennan as executive VP, chief medical officer

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has appointed former Aetna executive Troyen Brennan as executive vice president and chief medical officer.

In this newly created role, Brennan will be responsible for MinuteClinic, Accordant Health Care, clinical and medical affairs, and health care strategy.

Most recently, Brennan served as chief medical officer for Aetna, the nation’s third largest health insurer. At Aetna, Brennan was responsible for clinical operations, national quality management, disease management and other programs. Before Aetna, Brennan was president and chief executive officer of Brigham and Women?s Physicians Organization in Boston, and also previously served that hospital as director of quality measurement and improvement. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Troy Brennan is a highly regarded national health care expert who not only understands the challenges of health care today, but has hands on experience with all aspects of the health care delivery system. As a former practicing physician, hospital administrator with background in quality care measurement, and leader of a top health care insurer, Troy’s experience will help strengthen our company’s integrated approach to improving access, affordability and quality of care,” said Tom Ryan, chairman, chief executive officer and president of CVS Caremark. “He is a great addition to our management team.”

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Walgreens unveils MedMonitor Complete; program will reduce costs, company says

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens Health Services today unveiled a new drug utilization management program aimed at promoting prescription compliance among patients and holding down total healthcare costs.

The program, called MedMonitor Complete, is holistic in its approach, Walgreens noted. It uses an advanced, automated patient-matching process to provide a single clinical view of a patient, and maintains the patient’s claims history, even if they’ve changed their name, employer group or cardholder identification number.

MedMonitor integrates prescription and medical claims to review an entire population and identify patients’ risks for adverse drug events, according to the company. It also looks at the potential for patients’ non-compliance to “clinically appropriate standards of therapy.”

To boost compliance, clinical pharmacists communicate directly with patients and/or their health care professionals to alert them to drug-related problems such as over- or under-utilization, or opportunities to benefit from additional therapy. This process “effectively minimizes patient disruption while arming health care professionals with the necessary information to improve patient care,” Walgreens Health Services noted in a statement.

One large-scale application of the intervention program yielded $54 in savings per member per month, WHS added.

“Our goal with MedMonitor Complete is to provide healthcare professionals the most clinically relevant information that yields the greatest impact,” said Jim Langman, Walgreens’ vice president of clinical services. “The program’s impact calculations are pure, not artificially inflated with brand-to-generic conversions, step therapies and prior authorizations.”

Langman added that the results are “fully transparent,” allowing benefit managers to “clearly see reduced cost and positive health outcomes for their members.”

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