PHARMACY

Specialty pharmacy gets personal

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT If specialty pharmacy is the future of the pharmaceutical industry, as evidenced by the amount of research and development currently being placed against specialty pharmaceuticals, then this partnership can only mean one thing — the future is now.

(THE NEWS: Hy-Vee, specialty pharmacy Amber form Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions. To read the full story, click here)

Hy-Vee and Amber may be one of the first druggists to form such a joint venture, but they most assuredly won’t be the last. Already, national pharmacy operators like CVS/Caremark and Walgreens have made significant investments with regard to their specialty pharmacy offerings.

According to the 2009 Medco Drug Trend Report, specialty pharmaceuticals realized a 15.8% increase in drug spend thanks both to new products and the fact that there presently are no generics on the market.

Projected double-digit growth and a sound business opportunity aside, specialty pharmacy coupled with retail pharmacy will help lift the overall perception of what pharmacy brings to the healthcare table. Specialty pharmacy represents individualized care; retail pharmacy ease of access and convenience. In specialty pharmacy, for example, compliance to the medicinal regimen is crucial, which probably explains why many specialty pharmacies assign every patient a team of experts to help them learn more about their disease state and to help navigate those patients through the healthcare system. You can’t get much more personal than that, but now you can add a whole other level of personalization by brining the community pharmacy and all that traditional retail drug stores have to offer into the mix.

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Publix joins H1N1 efforts during National Influenza Vaccination Week

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. To coincide with National Influenza Vaccination Week, Publix Pharmacies announced Wednesday an inoculation offer of the H1N1 vaccine for $10. The special pricing for the vaccine will remain in effect until the vaccine supply is depleted. Customers do not need an appointment for the vaccination, but are encouraged to call their local Publix Pharmacy to ensure an immunizing pharmacist is on duty and vaccine supply still is available.

In addition, every customer who receives an H1N1 vaccine from a Publix Pharmacy will also receive a coupon good for a $10 Publix gift card with a new or transferred prescription.

“While influenza is unpredictable, we know that if more people are vaccinated, the disease is less likely to spread in the upcoming months,” stated Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “Our Publix Pharmacists are committed to the total health and wellness of our customers and their families.”

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FDA finds Spiriva does not raise risk of heart attack, stroke

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Data from a recent review of a treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease do not support allegations that it raises the risk of stroke, heart attack or death, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.

The FDA reviewed a 5,992-patient study of the Spiriva HandiHaler (tiotropium), made by Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim as a treatment for COPD, a disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

In March 2008, an FDA Early Communication described data submitted by one of the companies suggesting a small increased risk of stroke in patients who had taken the inhaler’s active ingredient. An update in October of that year highlighted two additional publications suggesting an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death in patients using the drug.

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