PHARMACY

Study analyzes potential benefits of MTM integration

BY Alaric DeArment

The role of the pharmacist has evolved considerably over the past decade, and few things exemplify that evolution more than pharmacists taking an active role in patients’ medication therapies and consulting with them one-on-one.


Researchers from pharmacy schools at the University of Minnesota, the University of Iowa, the University of Southern California and the University of Oklahoma collected data for “environmental scans” from U.S. MTM providers and payers using self-administered online surveys conducted between 2007 and 2010, according to a white paper published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.


The study found a need to integrate MTM between organizations and patients serviced, partnering organizations and collaborating healthcare providers, as well as that “a ‘channel of distribution’ is emerging in which organizational relationships and cost efficiencies will be important considerations in the near term.” The researchers suggested that customer portfolio management and transaction cost economics would help to integrate MTM into the U.S. healthcare system.


Still, retailers across the country have embraced MTM as a way to improve medication adherence. Under a collaboration that began last year, Walgreens and Decatur, Ga.-based DeKalb Medical have the retailer’s pharmacists helping patients understand and comply with their therapies following treatment at the hospital. In November 2011, just three months after the collaboration started, the two reported that it had led to improved patient care and satisfaction.


In September 2011, Rite Aid announced that it had joined the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, an initiative created by UnitedHealth Group, to have pharmacists offer diabetes consultations and MTM services to patients at several of its stores in New York and Washington.

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ReportersNotebook — Chain Pharmacy, 1/9/12

BY DSN STAFF

SUPPLIER NEWS — Pharmacy technology provider PDX is partnering with Mscripts to allow existing PDX Classic and Enterprise Pharmacy System customers to add mobile to their customer-facing offerings, the companies said. The features will give pharmacies an outreach channel to improve their bin management and will-call services, as well as allow them to easily identify aging prescriptions and use the Mscripts mobile application to remind customers to pick up their prescriptions.


Ranbaxy Labs got the green light from the Food and Drug Administration to launch its generic version of Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor on Nov. 30, the day Pfizer’s patent on the drug expired. The FDA approved Ranbaxy’s atorvastatin calcium tablets in the 10-mg, 20-mg, 40-mg and 80-mg strengths. New Brunswick, N.J.-based Ohm Labs manufactures the drug. Ranbaxy said that through an agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, a portion of the profits from sales of the drug during the exclusivity period will go to Teva, though terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Lipitor had sales of $7.8 billion during the 12-month period ended in September, according to IMS Health.


Mylan said its subsidiary has launched a generic version of a hypertension treatment. Mylan Pharmaceuticals launched and began shipping amlodipine besylate and atorvastatin calcium tablets in various strengths. The drug is a generic version of Pfizer’s Caduet, which had U.S. sales of approximately $339 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, according to IMS Health.

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Ongoing issues hamper 
efficiency of e-prescribing

BY Alaric DeArment

While physicians and pharmacists alike generally view electronic prescribing with favor, several barriers stand in the way of their realizing its full benefit, according to a November government study.


The study, “Transmitting and processing electronic prescriptions: Experiences of physician practices and pharmacies,” funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, focused on a key aspect of e-prescribing: the electronic exchange of prescription data between physician practices and pharmacies. 


The researchers found that despite the favorable view of e-prescribing, problems continued to arise from prescription renewals, connectivity between physician practices and mail-order pharmacies, and manual entry of prescription information by pharmacists, particularly drug names, dosage forms, quantities and patient instructions. For example, physicians and pharmacists used e-prescribing features for electronic renewals less often than for new prescriptions, while more than 25% of community pharmacies said they didn’t send electronic renewal requests to physicians and one-third of physician practices had e-prescribing systems not set up to receive electronic renewals or received them infrequently. 


“Physicians and pharmacies have come a long way in their use of e-prescribing, and that’s a very positive trend for safer patient care and improved efficiency,” AHRQ director Carolyn Clancy said. “This study identifies issues that need attention to improve e-prescribing for physicians, pharmacies and patients.”


“There are many resources available to clinicians, pharmacists and payers that include valuable guidance on how to manage and avoid issues so they can get the most out of e-prescribing,” Surescripts spokesman Rob Cronin told Drug Store News. “Taken together, they represent a long-standing and ongoing and collaborative effort by Surescripts and many other organizations to supplement e-prescribing education and training.”


E-prescribing has grown tremendously over the past few years. According to Surescripts, the number of prescribers sending scripts electronically grew from 156,000 at the end of 2009 to 234,000 at the end of 2010, representing about 34% of office-based prescribers. Meanwhile, by the end of 2010, about 91% of retail pharmacies were connected for electronic routing of prescriptions. The number of prescriptions routed electronically grew from 191 million in 2009 to 326 million in 2010.

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