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Walgreens title sponsor of Lifetime ‘Five’ production

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday announced its title sponsorship of Lifetime channel’s "Five," an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people’s lives that debuts Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. EST.

For a preview of the productions, click here.

"Five" was directed by a cast of award-winning actresses and performers, including Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, Patty Jenkins and Penelope Spheeris, and features an all-star ensemble cast.

"Walgreens is proud to support the ‘Five’ project and to be working with its creators to inspire and educate women in the fight against breast cancer," stated Deborah Sabo, Walgreens VP marketing services. "Through our Way to Well Commitment our pharmacists, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals are helping to provide access to the tools and support people need to manage their health in thousands of communities nationwide."

Lifetime’s "Five" shares the vision of the Walgreens Way to Well Commitment, an initiative that focuses on cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and which is bringing $100 million in health testing services, preventive healthcare resources and charitable programs to its stores nationwide over the next four years.

As part of the Way to Well Commitment, Walgreens is creating heightened awareness around the importance of prevention and early detection. Throughout October, Walgreens prescription bottles feature pink caps with the image of a pink ribbon and the message, "Get screened for early detection."

In partnership with "Five," Walgreens’ pink prescription caps will be featured in two of the short films, "Mia" and "Pearl," and will play an important role in the first scene of "Pearl" as a reminder a woman needed to get a mammogram — which ultimately will save her life.

In addition to the pink caps, Walgreens and its customers, through in-store donation programs in October 2011 and October 2012, will donate a minimum of $1 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure to support Breast Self Awareness programs, including mammograms, in support of the fight against breast cancer.

Custom content featuring Lyndsy Fonseca, star of one of the "Five" films, will follow each Walgreens integration to recap the film and further stress the importance of early detection. Longer-form pieces also will follow, featuring interviews with the films’ stars and directors.

The partnership is being led by content-creation agency LiquidThread and Walgreens media agency of record, Starcom USA. LiquidThread worked closely with Walgreens, as well as Lifetime and its production partners on all content development being delivered through a variety of media touch points.

"It was very important for the content to reflect Walgreens’ October breast cancer awareness efforts while also stressing the importance of health, education and early detection — the key tenets of Walgreens’ Way to Well Commitment," stated Gary Hoffman, director at LiquidThread. "In the end, we believe the content we developed with Lifetime strikes the perfect balance between the two messages."

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FTC clears Teva-Cephalon acquisition deal

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — The Federal Trade Commission has given Teva Pharmaceutical Industries the green light to acquire Frazer, Pa.-based drug maker Cephalon, but with some restrictions, Teva said.

Before it can complete the $6.8 billion deal, Teva must sell to Par Pharmaceutical Cos. its generic versions of two Cephalon drugs, namely generic versions of the cancer pain drug Actiq (fentanyl citrate) and the muscle relaxant drug Amrix (cyclobenzaprine), which have combined sales of $298 million per year, according to IMS Health.

Teva also will grant nonexclusive U.S. rights to an undisclosed company to market a generic of Cephalon’s sleep disorder drug Provigil (modafinil), the branded version of which has annual sales of $1.1 billion.

The deal is still subject to the approval of the European Commission, but both companies expect to close it by Friday.

 


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NCPA Digest: Fewer independents but majority operating in underserved communities

BY Michael Johnsen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The number of new independent pharmacies and new prescriptions filled with independents were down in 2010, though the number of refilled prescriptions continued to grow slightly, according to the latest 2011 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, released Monday by the National Community Pharmacists Association.

Now in its 79th year of publication, the NCPA Digest reports these 2010 findings:

  • Fueled by declining reimbursement rates and rising business costs, the number of total independent community pharmacies decreased slightly from 23,117 to 23,064;
  • The average independent community pharmacy’s pretax net profit margin fell from 3.2% to 3%;
  • Approximately 92% of revenue is derived from the sale of prescription drugs;
  • Continuing to fill the void in underserved areas, the number of independent community pharmacies in areas of 20,000 people or less remained constant at 52%;
  • There was a small decline in the average amount of prescription drugs dispensed from 64,635 to 64,169, although the number of refills increased slightly;
  • Independent community pharmacies set a new high in generic drug utilization, increasing their generic dispensing rate from 69% to 72%;
  • The number of prescription drugs dispensed under the Medicare Part D program remained at 30%. In a sign of the tough economy, the number of Medicaid prescription drugs dispensed rose from 14% to 16%;
  • Disease state management services (immunization, blood pressure monitoring, diabetes training, etc.) or medication therapy management services were offered by 78% of pharmacies; and
  • 90% of independents are connected for e-prescribing.

"The 2011 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, offers further proof of the adaptability and innovation of independent community pharmacists as they try to overcome significant challenges to keep serving patients," stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA EVP and CEO. "By offering a variety of patient-friendly niches to complement the prescription drugs they dispense, independent community pharmacies continue to distinguish themselves from their competitors and win kudos from patients."

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