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Walgreens’ PBM unit reports savings

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Want to get the attention of health plan payers? Tell them you can save them big money on the dollars they’re spending to cover their members’ prescription drug costs.

 

Like other pharmacy benefit managers, Walgreens Health Initiatives has been arguing for years that its services are a value-add to the healthcare marketplace. WHI has long asserted that its ability to tailor a cost-effective drug treatment program to the needs of employers and other health plan sponsors will reduce overall health expenditures for those payers.

 

 

WHI has also made a strong case that its relationship with parent company Walgreens — which operates more than 6,700 pharmacies — provides WHI plan administrators with in-depth knowledge of how to structure a pharmacy benefit program in ways that benefit both payers and patients.

 

 

Early this week, WHI backed up those claims with some pretty convincing evidence with the release of its 2009 Trend Report. The report’s conclusions, based on surveys of WHI’s clients and drug utilization data from plan members, showed that an aggressive approach to cost-cutting by a PBM can help both employer-sponsored health plans and patients — particularly when the PBM is allied with a powerful network of retail and specialty pharmacies and in-store and worksite clinics.

 

 

By aggressively promoting generic drug substitutions, requiring strict prior-authorization procedures for the most expensive prescriptions, and by initially opting for lower-cost treatment options for patients before stepping up to higher-cost drug therapies, Walgreens’ PBM was able to generate measurable cost savings for its membership-plan clients.

 

 

Walgreens is now on a mission to break down the silos within its business and link all its vast health-and-wellness, data-mining and pharmacy resources into a seamless, interactive web of patient care. How that plays out over the next two to three years remains to be seen, but it’s likely the company will generate additional benefits for the health plans it services as it integrates all of its “points of care,” including its retail pharmacies, clinics, home infusion sites and specialty pharmacies.

 

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Downy launches program to aid hospitalized children

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI Downy fabric softener, in partnership with Quilts for Kids, Inc., has launched the Downy Touch of Comfort program, designed to deliver personalized, hand-made quilts to children staying in Children’s Miracle Network hospitals throughout the country.

Chandra Wilson, a mother of three and star of “Grey’s Anatomy,” has joined Downy’s efforts to try and comfort as many children as possible.

“The Downy Touch of Comfort program delivers to children exactly what it says — comfort when kids need it most,” said program spokeswoman Chandra Wilson. “As a mom, most of my life focuses on caring for my children and making sure they are safe and secure wherever they may be. It brings me a great deal of joy to be a part of this program and know that Downy is partnering with these wonderful organizations to help children feel more comforted and at ease in an unfamiliar and sometimes intimidating place.”

People across the United States can add a “touch of comfort” in their communities in numerous ways by visiting DownyTouchofComfort.com to help make a difference in a child’s life. At the site, people can make donations to benefit the program, volunteer to deliver quilts or even learn how to become a local ambassador. In addition, the quilting community can visit the site to request a quilt kit or they can design their own quilt and send it to their local Quilts for Kids chapter or headquarters for distribution.

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First-ever music and sound envelopes launched by American Greetings

BY Allison Cerra

CLEVELAND American Greetings has announced the launch of the first-ever music and sound envelopes, according to the company.

This patent-pending design has an innovative mechanism in the opening flap, which triggers music or sound to be played each time it is opened. These mailable envelopes allow consumers to add a surprising burst of sound to almost any greeting card. The new envelopes also feature themed designs to create an exciting way to package a greeting card that’s not only visually appealing, but also a lot of fun.

“We know that consumers want to create memorable experiences when celebrating special occasions to show their friends and family just how much they care,” said Mary McClain, new product concepts creative director American Greetings. “Music and sound envelopes are a unique way to customize a song or sound clip to an already carefully selected greeting card and it adds such a wonderful surprise when the envelope is opened.”

Featuring a variety of songs and sounds, the collection has everything to delight recipients, ranging from “What I Like About You” by The Romantics, “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” from New Kids on the Block, and “Happy Birthday” to people cheering and animal noises. The envelopes are perfect additions to any birthday or other festive occasion.

Retailing for $3.49, music and sound envelopes can be found at leading specialty, mass, grocery and drug store channels nationwide. Visit www.corporate.americangreetings.com for more information or store locations.

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