PHARMACY

Walgreens opens first Community specialty banner in Iowa

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill.  — Walgreens will be opening its first specialty pharmacy in Iowa next month, according to a report in The Des Moines Register.

The 2,000 square foot pharmacy will open under the Community, A Walgreens Pharmacy banner and will cater to patients with complex medical conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and transplants.

Walgreens operates about 75 community specialty pharmacies and about 175 specialty pharmacies in hospitals and clinics, according to the company. Walgreens celebrated another Community, A Walgreens Pharmacy opening last week in Baton Rouge, La.

The Community, A Walgreens Pharmacy banner is part of Walgreens’s multi-channel approach to specialty pharmacy, which Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy Group VP Gerry Gleeson outlined to Drug Store News in a recent interview.

“These locations have access to not just the broad-based specialty products that are out there in some of the large categories, but also to controlled or limited distribution products from manufacturers,” Gleeson told Drug Store News. “It’s very rare that manufacturers let some of these products out into community pharmacies, and we see now that our model is very attractive to the biopharma community to be able to again deliver complex therapies to patients in the local communities.”

 

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Bristol-Myers Squibb remains committed to Opdivo-Yervoy combo lung cancer treatment

BY Brian Berk

PRINCETON, N.J. — Despite word a week ago that Bristol-Myers Squibb will not seek accelerated regulatory approval for a combination of its Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) as a first-line treatment for lung cancer, the company asserted it is committed to the development of the drug combination.

“We have a broad front-line lung cancer program, which we expanded and strengthened over the last several months. We have four combination front-line lung studies that are ongoing. These studies are designed with the optionality we build into all of our studies,” Bristol-Myers CEO Giovanni Caforio said Thursday during the company’s 2016 fourth-quarter earnings conference call. “We are committed to the development of the combination of Yervoy plus Opdivo. As you know, the competitive landscape in this space has changed over the last nine to 12 months, and it could very well change again based on future data readouts. We believe through our broad development program we have an opportunity to play a meaningful role in the treatment of patients in the first-line lung cancer setting. And with this in mind, our [research and development] team is focused and well-resourced in front-line lung, and is constantly looking for ways to strengthen our program and bring forward new treatments.”

Caforio added lung cancer treatment is very important to the company, but it will also focus on a broad set of priorities beyond lung cancer in 2017.

Outside of oncology, said Caforio: “We will build on the strength of the brands we've established, with Eliquis and Orencia in the near term. Longer term, we are advancing our efforts to diversify our portfolio with new pipeline agents in heart failure, immunoscience and fibrosis.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the regimen of Opdivo and Yervoy as a treatment for metastatic melanoma in October 2015.

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Thrifty White rolls out diabetes support program

BY David Salazar
PLYMOUTH, Minn. — Thrifty White Pharmacy on Thursday announced the introduction of its new Healthy Outcomes Diabetes Support Program. The program will provide patients with diabetes an additional 24 touch points annually, customized to their needs to help maximize health outcomes. 
 
The company said the new program enables employers in the communities it serves to act on helping manage diabetes, something the employers have noted as one of their top two concerns, given that it has been estimated to cost $245 billion in direct and indirect costs. 
 
The program includes comprehensive medication reviews, personalized goal setting, disease education and biometric screenings, including A1c checks to monitor progress. The company’s RxMedSync refill scheduling program forms the foundation of the program and allows the clinical support team, patient and pharmacist align on goals. It will be offered directly to employers and through health plan partnerships beginning this month for a per-member-per-month fee. 
 
Drug Store News named Thrifty White its 2016 Pharmacy Innovator of the Year. Read the profile here.
 
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