PHARMACY

Study: Med sync programs a ‘win-win-win’

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. —The adoption of technology-driven medication synchronization by community pharmacies results in improved patient adherence, increased revenue streams, and overall improvement in business optimization for pharmacies. That’s according to an analysis of five pharmacy case studies conducted for the National Community Pharmacists Association.

In two NCPA studies, pharmacies used Ateb’s Time My Meds to identify patients for enrollment and to manage the daily operations of medication synchronization. An analysis of the data collected from these studies revealed the following results for patients enrolled in medication synchronization:
•    Pharmacies achieved a nearly 91% proportion of days covered score for medications of patients enrolled in the program. This compares with a PDC score of 72% for patients assigned to a control group.
•    Average days on therapy, a measure of medication persistence, was significantly higher in the intervention group, averaging approximately 20 additional fills per patient per year.
•    Patient disenrollment from the program resulted in recidivism, yielding a 63-day reduction in average days on therapy.
•    Use of automation yielded a 35% higher enrollment rate than manual medication synchronization programs.

In addition to the tangible patient care benefits, the case study analysis and pharmacy owner interviews, which were conducted by David Holdford of Virginia Commonwealth University, showed that, by using the automated medication synchronization solution, pharmacies were able to:
•    Increase prescription sales;
•    Enhance the efficiency of pharmacy workflow and operations;
•    Achieve smarter purchasing and better timing of deliveries; and
•    Improve patient satisfaction.

“We received compelling evidence from these studies that a personalized, automated medication synchronization service delivered by community pharmacies is impactful, scalable, and able to be replicated in any community pharmacy,” stated NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey.  “The results also confirmed community pharmacists are ideally positioned to counsel patients and ensure they take medications as prescribed and understand their importance to better health.  With the increased focus on measuring the quality of health care through initiatives like the Medicare Star Ratings, medication synchronization offers an excellent opportunity for pharmacies to achieve higher adherence scores.”

“These studies demonstrate the tremendous impact that community pharmacies can have on improving patient adherence and healthier outcomes,” added Frank Sheppard, president and CEO of Ateb.  “We are proud to work with NCPA to measurably demonstrate the effectiveness of medication synchronization.  Studies like these prove how valuable community pharmacies are in addressing many of the critical issues in health care today.”

Estimates indicate that more than 10,000 community pharmacies are providing medication synchronization services, including NCPA’s Simplify My Meds program, which is utilized by more than 2,400 independent community pharmacies nationwide.
 

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PHARMACY

California Gov. signs mandatory vaccination bill

BY Antoinette Alexander

LOS ANGELES — California Gov. Jerry Brown signed on Tuesday a bill that would require more children who enter day care or school to be vaccinated.

“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” Brown wrote in a statement to members of the California State Senate. “While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunizations powerfully benefits and protects the community.”

The bill ends exemptions from state immunization laws based on religious or other personal beliefs. However, while requiring that school children be vaccinated, the bill does provide an exception when a physician confirms that a child has a medical condition that would warrant such an exception.

According to reports, the bill was introduced due to concern about low vaccination rates in some communities and following an outbreak of measles at Disneyland that infected more than 150 people.

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PHARMACY

FDA grants pharmacies more time for Track & Trace requirement

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday issued guidance indicating that the agency would give pharmacies until Nov. 1, 2015 — an additional four months — to comply with product tracing requirements scheduled to take effect July 1, 2015.

The FDA will not take enforcement action against a pharmacy that receives any drug product without also receiving the tracing information until Nov. 1, 2015. However, as of July 1, pharmacies are responsible for transmitting tracing documentation to purchasers of their drugs, when required to do so under the DSCSA. Starting Nov. 1, 2015, pharmacies will have to comply with the full scope of the DSCSA dispenser tracing requirements.

Commenting on the news, National Community Pharmacists Association CEO B. Douglas Hoey issued a statement that read: “Pharmacists appreciate and support the FDA’s decision announced today, which will help protect patients from disruptions in access to prescription drugs that may have otherwise and inadvertently occurred. Due to circumstances beyond their control, many pharmacies would have had difficulty complying with the July 1 statutory deadline. The FDA’s latitude should hopefully allow pharmacies to continue to work with their wholesaler partners in order to achieve compliance with new product tracing requirements intended to enhance the safety of the U.S. pharmaceutical system.”

On Nov. 27, 2013, the President signed the Drug Supply Chain Security Act into law, which helps ensure that the drug supply chain is secure from the point of manufacture through to the point at which pharmacies dispense those drugs to their patients. Implementation of the law has been ongoing over the past year and half. Starting July 1, 2015, pharmacies were to be required to only accept drugs that were shipped with corresponding tracing documentation.

While National Association of Chain Drug Store members worked hard to achieve DSCSA compliance by July 1, NACDS stated that it requested enforcement discretion from the FDA on two drug product categories — 340B drugs and drop shipment drugs — to help ensure that patients were not delayed in receiving their much-needed medications.

Because of the structure of the 340B program, in many instances a wholesaler will send the 340B drug to the pharmacy and send the tracing documentation to the health care entity. This undermines the intent of the DSCSA to require both the drug product and the tracing documentation to flow together through the supply chain, NACDS stated.

While the manufacturers of drop shipment drugs are able to send the tracing data directly to the pharmacies, progress has been slow in developing an electronic method for transmitting that tracing data, NACDS stated. Electronic transmission is critical for pharmacies because the DSCSA requires pharmacies to have such data readily available in case the FDA needs to investigate possibly illegitimate drug products.

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