PHARMACY

Study shows long-term use of Avonex improves quality of life

BY Alaric DeArment

MONTREAL Data from a study has shown long-term benefits among patients using Avonex to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis, drug maker Biogen Idec announced Thursday.

The study—called Assessment of Drug Utilization, Early Treatment and Clinical Outcomes, or ASSURANCE—represented a long-term follow-up of patients who participated in the Multiple Sclerosis Collaborative Research Group, the original phase III pivotal trial from which Avonex (interferon beta-1a IM) was approved.

“As a physician, my goal in treating my MS patients is to delay disability progression and help them maintain their normal lifestyle for as long as possible,” said Robert Bermel of the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research at the Cleveland Clinic. “This follow-up study identifies a group of patients who achieved benefits from long-term treatment and underscores the importance of starting on and continuing an effective therapy for MS.”

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Save Mart guarantees prescription filling in 19 minutes or less

BY Adam Kraemer

MODESTO, Calif. In an effort to provide faster service, Save Mart Supermarkets has announced that its Save Mart and Lucky banners will guarantee an order of up to three prescriptions filled within 19 minutes.

Customers whose prescriptions take longer than 19 minutes to fill will receive Save Mart’s offer of dinner and a movie: a $10 store gift card and a free one-night rental from redbox. “Every pharmacy needs to fill every prescription accurately,” said Michele Snider, senior director of pharmacy at Save Mart Supermarkets. “Our pharmacies already provide excellent customer service, and now our 19-Minute Promise will ensure that we also deliver prescriptions quickly.”

Save Mart Supermarkets operates 116 pharmacies in 250 stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada.

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Study finds home delivery of prescriptions increases generics sales

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Patients are more likely to use generic drugs if they get them from home delivery pharmacies rather than retail pharmacies, according to a study by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, which operates a home delivery service.

The study found that patients using Sanofi-Aventis’ Ambien (zolpidem) or a generic version of the drug were 34 percent more likely to pick the generic version if they received it by home delivery.

“Financial incentives are important but not enough to realize the full money-saving potential of therapeutically equivalent generics,” study author Emily Cox said.

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