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Tuning into real health reform

BY Rob Eder

This year makes 19 years for me as the editor of Drug Store News. Looking back on it all, I have seen a lot change. In many ways, it reminds me of a series of TV commercials that was popular back then — AT&T’s “You Will” ads.

Remember those?

“Have you ever borrowed a book from 1,000 miles away,” the voice of Tom Selleck asked. “Have you ever crossed the country without stopping for directions? … You will.”

Today, e-books and GPS are pretty common; but 20 years ago, they seemed like science fiction.

The comparisons to the transformation of community pharmacy over that period are really quite remarkable.

When I started 19 years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine getting a flu shot from a pharmacist because pharmacists were not licensed to do. Today, pharmacists in all 50 states can administer flu shots and at least two other vaccinations.

Back then, it would have been hard to imagine being able to receive 80% of your primary care needs in a community pharmacy setting — the retail clinic was very much still just a concept on a dry erase board. Today, there are more than 2,000 retail clinics in operation, with many more expected in the years ahead.

To be sure, as the editor of DSN I have seen the drug store re-emerge not just as a place that dispenses prescriptions, but as the center of health care in neighborhoods all across America.

I frequently tell people that if they could see what I see, if they could see how community pharmacy, in so many examples, is leading the way on lowering healthcare costs, expanding patient access and driving better health outcomes, they would have a pretty good sense of how to fix health care.

That’s why we have produced this special edition of DSN. Just like those AT&T commercials, you may not have thought a lot about what community pharmacy could do to help fix health care was possible. But when you read this, you will.

To see the full report, click here.

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FDA approves expanded Imbruvica indication

BY David Salazar
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new indication for Janssen Biotech’s and Pharmacyclics’ Imbruvica (ibrutinib) capsules, the companies announced Friday.
 
The drug can now be used by patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia that hasn’t been treated yet. The new indication expands the drug’s use beyond CLL patients with a certain genetic mutation. The approval coincides with a recent update to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Clinical Practice Guidelines, which recommended Imbruvica for some first-line CLL patients. 
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Canada launches first wellness rewards program in British Columbia

BY David Salazar
VICTORIA, BC — The Canadian government, in partnership with social venture company Social Change Rewards, launched its new wellness rewards program, Carrot Rewards, in British Columbia Thursday. 
 
The app allows Canadians to be rewarded with brand-name loyalty points for healthy choices they make — integrating with such loyalty programs as Aeroplan, Scene and MoreRewards. Points can be earned for such activities as going to the gym, visiting a flu clinic or buying produce at the grocery story. The app will roll out to other parts of Canada over the next five years to encourage healthier choices among Canadians. 
 
“By promoting physical fitness and providing tips and information on how to make healthier choices, we're helping British Columbians to make their health a priority,” British Columbia’s minister of health, Terry Lake, said. “B.C. is proud to be the first province to launch Carrot Rewards, and we soon hope to see the rest of Canada following in our footsteps.”
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