HEALTH

Study: Pharmacists have measurable impact on improving outcomes

BY Michael Johnsen

EDMONTON, Alberta — Having pharmacists on primary care teams monitoring the treatment of blood pressure in patients with Type 2 diabetes have a significant impact on improved outcomes, according to a study published in the May/June issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.
 
The main study, which was a randomized control trial, examined blood pressure control in people with Type 2 diabetes as a measurable, clinically important outcome. Results of the main study showed that the addition of pharmacists to primary care teams produced substantial improvements in the health of patients with Type 2 diabetes.
 
Researcher Scot Simpson wanted to delve further and pinpoint what specifically pharmacists did to improve patient health.
 
Patients in the intervention group were counseled directly by two pharmacists, who worked with the patients’ physicians as part of primary care teams at several clinics within Edmonton's Southside Primary Care Network. Control group patients did not see a primary care team pharmacist during the study. At the end of the study, 42% of the intervention group patients had at least one change to their blood pressure drugs compared to 26% of the control group patients.
 
“Based on the data, we found that patients who had a change in blood pressure drugs were twice as likely to have an improvement in their blood pressure compared to those who didn't have a change in blood pressure drugs,” Simpson said. 
 
Simpson's findings support the importance of interprofessional health collaboration in treating patients.
 
“Adding pharmacists to the team to review medications, identify drug-related problems and manage the treatment has a positive effect on blood pressure levels of patients with Type 2 diabetes,” Simpson said. “The pharmacists involved in the study had very collaborative discussions with the physicians about the patients' medications and proposed drug treatment options. … It was from these discussions that the pharmacists were able to suggest alternative medicines or changes in dosage that contributed to lowering the patient's blood pressure.”
 
The study was part of a larger research project published in Diabetes Care in 2011.
 
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Cosmederm launches new ‘calming’ product

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO — Cosmederm Bioscience’s TriCalm OTC itch-relief solution was recognized in May by the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, which published a study finding that Cosmederm’s solution was superior to diphenhydramine 2% and hydrocortisone 1%.

(Click here to read the full Category Review.)

That superior efficacy may translate into a significant sales story going forward. As of April 19, TriCalm 52 week sales totaled 5.2 million on growth of 276.5% across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI.

“The results of this study are a testament to TriCalm’s value as the most effective over-the-counter itch relief treatment,” Sean Edwards, president and CEO of Cosmederm Bioscience, said when announcing the results last month. “They validate our claim that TriCalm is more effective at relieving itch than hydrocortisone 1%, providing fast-acting itch relief without the potential side effects of steroid-based creams.”

Cosmederm Bioscience is looking to bring two new anti-itch solutions to the marketplace for the coming review season, said Justin Brown, Cosmederm Bioscience VP sales. “But we’re in development [of other new products]. We anticipate by the end of the year having 10 really unique formulations, everything ranging from psoriasis products to something as simple as a daily sensitive skin lotion.”

TriCalm has a very aggressive integrated marketing and advertising budget that includes TV, radio, print, social media, internet and doctor initiatives, and is represented by David Biernbaum.

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Breaking the seasonal mold

BY Michael Johnsen

Such chronic skin conditions as psoriasis and eczema have taken an anti-itch category known for its summertime seasonal sales spikes — because of such acute needs as poison ivy and bug bites — and have made it a year-round destination category. For the 52 weeks ended April 19, sales of anti-itch solutions totaled $551.9 million, representing growth of 7.8% across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI.

“In the past, the category’s been viewed strictly as a seasonal category,” said Justin Brown, VP sales at Cosmederm Bioscience. “This category actually is a year-long problem [for consumers].”

That’s apparent with the number of successful line extensions in the anti-itch space. Both Beiersdorf and Chattem have launched extensions addressing diabetic skin care and eczema for Eucerin and Gold Bond Ultimate, respectively, and the products are moving exceptionally well. Sales of Eucerin totaled $17.3 million for the 52 weeks ended April 19, according to IRI, on growth of 67.5%. And Gold Bond Ultimate generated $13.9 million on 183.2% growth.

Eczema is one of the more prevalent conditions that drive consumers in search of an anti-itch solution. The National Eczema Association estimates that as many as 31.6 million Americans have eczema today, with 17.8 million suffering from moderate to severe cases.

One of the niche problems that Cosmederm identified is a significant itch associated with dry skin itch conditions, Brown said, noting that the typically dry winter weather exasperates such conditions as psoriasis or eczema. Cosmederm has marketed against that condition in the fourth and first quarters to great success, he said.

Aging skin is another way to segment the anti-itch category. “It’s a real quality-of-life condition [for seniors],” Brown said. “They can’t sleep through the night because their skin is irritable and itchy.” Senile pruritus impacts as many as 20.5 million seniors, Brown said.

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