PHARMACY

Walgreens unveils MedMonitor Complete; program will reduce costs, company says

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens Health Services today unveiled a new drug utilization management program aimed at promoting prescription compliance among patients and holding down total healthcare costs.

The program, called MedMonitor Complete, is holistic in its approach, Walgreens noted. It uses an advanced, automated patient-matching process to provide a single clinical view of a patient, and maintains the patient’s claims history, even if they’ve changed their name, employer group or cardholder identification number.

MedMonitor integrates prescription and medical claims to review an entire population and identify patients’ risks for adverse drug events, according to the company. It also looks at the potential for patients’ non-compliance to “clinically appropriate standards of therapy.”

To boost compliance, clinical pharmacists communicate directly with patients and/or their health care professionals to alert them to drug-related problems such as over- or under-utilization, or opportunities to benefit from additional therapy. This process “effectively minimizes patient disruption while arming health care professionals with the necessary information to improve patient care,” Walgreens Health Services noted in a statement.

One large-scale application of the intervention program yielded $54 in savings per member per month, WHS added.

“Our goal with MedMonitor Complete is to provide healthcare professionals the most clinically relevant information that yields the greatest impact,” said Jim Langman, Walgreens’ vice president of clinical services. “The program’s impact calculations are pure, not artificially inflated with brand-to-generic conversions, step therapies and prior authorizations.”

Langman added that the results are “fully transparent,” allowing benefit managers to “clearly see reduced cost and positive health outcomes for their members.”

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FDA raises questions about efficacy of pain medication tamper-proofing

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Questions have arisen as to whether a pill by Pain Therapeutics and King Pharmaceuticals is resistant to tampering.

A memo by the Food and Drug Administration Monday concerns the drug Remoxy, a formulation of oxycodone that uses liquid capsule drug-delivery technology designed to prevent misuse of the drug. Some people have abused oxycodone tablets by crushing them, dissolving it in water and then injecting it for its opiate-like effects.

The FDA’s memo said that Pain Therapeutics did not sufficiently conduct long-term tests of Remoxy to determine whether the oxycodone could be extracted and diverted, though Pain Therapeutics disputes that claim.

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Titan releases earnings report for Q3 2008

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. Titan Pharmaceuticals has released financial results for third quarter 2008.

Total operating costs for the quarter, which ended Sept. 30, were $6 million, compared with $4.6 million for third quarter 2007, the company said. Net loss for the quarter was $5.9 million, compared to $4.3 million last year; losses in both cases totaled 10 cents a share. The increase in operating costs resulted mostly from an increase in research and development funding related to development of the opiate addiction treatment Probuphine (buprenorphine) and a slight increase in general and administrative costs.

“We have continued to streamline our expenses and focus our resources on the phase 3 clinical development of Probuphine,” Titan president and chief executive Marc Rubin said. “During the third quarter, we have engaged in discussions with several potential partners both in the U.S. and Europe, and we are continuing these efforts as we evaluate strategic alternatives for the company.”

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