Tampa Bay, Fla., doctors becomes paper free
Our industry received one more reminder of the leadership retail pharmacy has shown on health reform last week.
On March 17, officials in Tampa, Fla., announced a new initiative aimed at converting every physician in the Tampa Bay area to electronic prescribing, including more than 10,000 doctors in 10 different counties. Under the program, “PaperFree Tampa Bay,” which is being funded by dollars set aside under President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, including some $20 billion to promote the widespread adoption of HIT the University of South Florida will hire more than 100 “healthcare ambassadors” to work with local physicians to speed the shift to e-prescribing.
According to Allscripts, the leading provider of e-prescribing software to physicians, roughly one-third of the country’s doctors are Allscripts customers. State officials in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Iowa are looking at implementing similar programs that will seek to take advantage of federal stimulus dollars to jumpstart e-prescribing.
“This will be a proof of concept that can become a model for the entire nation,” said Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman.
Of course, prior to all of this, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as part of the most recent revision of the Medicare Act, already had been empowered to create special financial incentives to speed along physician adoption of e-prescribing. Basically, doctors that implement e-prescribing before 2012 will receive higher reimbursements from CMS; doctors that do not make the move by then will be penalized in the form of lower reimbursement.
What does that mean?
If projections are correct, the shift to e-prescribing will improve patient compliance, as a greater number of prescriptions will actually make it to the pharmacy. According to research conducted by Walgreens and Allscripts’ retail-pharmacy counterpart, SureScripts, the shift to paperless prescriptions increased the number of scripts that reached the pharmacy by 11%. For America that means a chance to take a huge bite out of the $177 billion we spend every year in this country in direct and indirect costs related to patients not taking their medications as they have been directed to ? or at all.
For retail pharmacy ? which has clearly led the way on HIT, with some 95% of all community pharmacies e-prescribing-enabled ? it likely will mean a surge of new customer traffic and incremental sales.
Teva, Medicis, settle legal disputes over acne medication
JERUSALEM A popular generic drug maker announced Thursday that it has mutually agreed to terminate all legal disputes over an acne medication.
Teva and Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation said they have agreed to end all legal matters between them relating to Solodyn Extended Release Tablets.
Medicis, an independent specialty pharmaceutical company focused primarily on the treatment of dermatological and aesthetic conditions, has agreed to release Teva from liability arising from any prior sales of its generic Solodyn, which were not authorized by Medicis.
Meanwhile, Teva has confirmed that Medicis’ patents relating to Solodyn (minocycline HCl, USP) are valid and enforceable. As part of the settlement, Teva has agreed to immediately stop all further shipments of generic Solodyn.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Teva has the option to market its generic versions of Soldyn 45mg, 90mg and 135mg under the Solodyn intellectual property rights belonging to Medicis commencing in November 2011, or earlier under certain conditions. Additional terms were not disclosed.
Solodyn is indicated to treat inflammatory lesions of non-nodular moderate to severe acne, according to its Web site.
Sharing insulin pens can increase infection risk, FDA says
ROCKVILLE, Md. Use of insulin pens and cartridges to administer insulin to multiple patients could increase the risk of transmitting such viruses as HIV and hepatitis, according to an alert released Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Insulin pens are designed to be safe for one patient to use one pen multiple times with a new, fresh needle for each injection,” FDA Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products deputy director of safety Amy Egan said in a statement. “Insulin pens are not designed and are not safe for one pen to be used by more than one patient, even if needles are changed between patients, due to the risk of transmitting blood-borne pathogens.”
The agency said it became aware of incidents at two hospitals, whose names were not disclosed, involving more than 2,000 people in which insulin cartridges were used to administer insulin to multiple patients, though needles were changed.
The hospitals are contacting patients exposed to shared pens and offering them hepatitis and HIV tests, the FDA said. Some patients who may have been exposed have also tested positive for hepatitis C, though whether they contracted it from the pens remains unknown.