PHARMACY

Walgreens announces plans to open Take Care clinics in Boston area

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOSTON Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has confirmed that it plans to enter the Boston-metro area this fall, yet another sign that competition within the convenient care clinics landscape is heating up.

Take Care spokeswoman Lauren Tierney said that the company plans to launch multiple clinics in the Boston-metro area through a phased approach beginning in the fall. However, she was unable to confirm a specific number of clinics or exact locations as “plans are fluid and can change as we get closer to the launch.”

A local news report stated that Take Care is seeking state approval to open 16 clinics in the state.

Drug Store News reported in April that Take Care planned to enter Massachusetts but, at that time, Tierney was unable to discuss the timing.

“Take Care Health Systems is looking forward to launching Take Care Health Clinics in the Boston-area this fall. We’ll open multiple clinics, located at Walgreens drug stores,” the company said in a recently issued statement. “Access to care is a paramount issue in the United States, and Massachusetts is no different. Take Care Health Clinics offer access to high-quality, convenient and affordable healthcare. We’re excited to bring our model of patient-first care to the people of Massachusetts.”

The planned openings are important because earlier this year the convenient care industry celebrated a victory in Massachusetts as state health officials approved regulations allowing for limited service medical clinics—a move sparked by CVS’ application to open a MinuteClinic in in one of its stores in Weymouth, Mass.

In January, state health officials approved regulations allowing for limited service medical clinics, marking the end of a long review process that included two public hearings and the submission of hundreds of pages of testimony regarding the regulations.

According to the state Public Health Council, early in the application review process it became clear that Department of Public Health regulations governing medical clinics did not address the operation of medical clinics with limited scope of services. Rather than consider applications requiring numerous waivers from full-service clinic regulations, the department decided to create a specialized set of rules.

CVS has stated that it plans to operate about 120 MinuteClinics across the state over the next few years.

Meanwhile, CVS’ MinuteClinic currently operates about 26 in-store clinics within the state of Illinois—the turf of Walgreens’ headquarters office.

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Florida e-prescribing organization releases registered vendor list

BY Alaric DeArment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ePrescribe Florida, an organization that assists pharmacies in adopting electronic prescription systems, released a list of registered vendor solutions Tuesday.

Registered vendors made the list by meeting a set of e-prescribing and patient-safety criteria, such as alerting customers about potential interactions between drugs and allergies, as well as meeting Medicare electronic prescription standards. The list of 13 vendors includes H2H Solutions, iScribe, MedPlus, Misys Healthcare Systems and NextGen Healthcare.

ePrescribe Florida comprises various pharmacies, physicians, insurers, health-care improvement organizations and other organizations and professionals.

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Cephalon sues Watson over Fentora patent

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Drug maker Cephalon alleges that Watson infringed on its patent by developing a generic equivalent to its drug, Fentora.

Fentora (fentanyl citrate) is used to treat pain in cancer patients and received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in September 2006.

Watson applied for FDA approval of its generic version in April. In response, Cephalon filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on June 2, asserting that Watson had infringed on patents ‘604 and ‘590, both of which expire in 11 years.

Fentora recorded sales of $135 million in 2007.

The FDA has, however, granted approval for Watson’s application for a generic version of KV Pharmaceutical’s Micro-K Extencaps in 600 mg and 750 mg doses.

The company that is now Wyeth sold global rights and the trademark for Micro-K to KV for $36 million in 1999. Micro-K had sales of $80 between March 2007 and March 2008, according to IMS Health data.

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