HEALTH

Pharmacy groups brief Congress on health, cost benefits of MTM

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Making sure that medication therapy management is a part of any new healthcare reform legislation is a major priority for this industry, but it may be even more critical to the U.S. healthcare system.

 

Here’s why: according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid estimates, $2.5 trillion will be spent on health care this year. Approximately 54% of that spend was assumed by private insurers and out-of-pocket costs. By 2018, the majority of that spend is expected to shift toward the government, CMS predicts, with an assumption of some 51% of the $4.4 trillion projected spend then.

 

Meanwhile, pharmacists do a lot more than just fill prescriptions, such as work with physicians to optimize therapeutic choices, and help patients understand their medications and how to take them. These types of services already help save billions each year in unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits by preventing dangerous interactions and adverse effects.

Then there’s MTM.

Using diabetes as just one example, such programs as the Diabetes Ten City Challenge, a national program launched by the APhA Foundation in 2005 that today is saving up to $1,000 per year per patient through a pharmacist-driven patient intervention.

Walgreens Health Initiatives in 2006 determined that its MTM program netted a 2.5:1 return on investment, saving some $408,000 annually for each 100,000 covered.

Take either one of those studies and extrapolate those savings across the ever-growing Medicare population, and you have some real  potential to take a significant bite out of that $2.2 trillion in projected government healthcare costs within the next 10 years.

What’s real telling, however, is that Congress is listening to what pharmacy might be able to offer. This Tuesday, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is hosting its first RxIMPACT Day on Capital Hill. Already, 60 leaders from over 20 states have committed to attend.

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Natrol launches vitamin supplement

BY Michael Johnsen

CHATSWORTH, Calif. Natrol on Thursday launched Fish Oil + Vitamin D3, a combination of nutrients for overall health and immunity. The supplement is formulated as a softgel to be taken once daily at an average suggested retail price of $16.99.

The company cited recent scientific studies that have shown vitamin D3 — the vitamin that the body manufactures from sunlight — to be beneficial for aiding overall health, including bone health, immunity support and cellular protection in both men and women, and especially for middle-age and older adults, as the genesis for combining the two ingredients.

Commonly known for their heart health and bone health benefits, fish oil (omega-3 fats) and vitamin D have recently been studied for their cellular activity and abilities to promote breast health, colon health and prostate health, Natrol added. At the cellular level, research shows that omega-3 fats are the building blocks for cellular membranes.

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Stayhealthy presents wireless body-fat analyzer; final product to be HealthVault-friendly

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Following a two-year clinical study at the University of Southern California, Stayhealthy on Thursday introduced their next generation body composition analysis technology at Microsoft’s Connected Health Conference.

The technology accurately measures body composition in various forms depending on the need – from a home use individual device that will retail for less than $100 to a commercial grade device for physicians, fitness and nutrition professionals.

The devices will be able to upload the data directly into Microsoft HealthVault. “Stayhealthy’s body composition analysis is an example of inexpensive and innovative technology that connects with HealthVault to really make a difference in improving healthcare,” stated David Cerino, general manager of the Consumer Health Solutions Group at Microsoft. “Through our cooperative efforts, we are creating technology that brings together the power of the web, server-based processing and medical grade devices to deliver a revolutionary means of helping people better understand and measure their weight-related health risks.”

“At a time when our nation faces a healthcare crisis driven by excess weight and obesity, we are excited to introduce the Stayhealthy Body

Composition Analysis technology,” stated John Collins, CEO of Stayhealthy. “By providing this technology we hope to help millions of people track their body compositions and make positive adjustments as necessary.”

Stayhealthy’s Body Composition Analysis technology incorporates two elements – a physical data collection device that utilizes bio-impedance technology, and a proprietary server-based algorithm that analyzes the data collected at the device and provides a precise body composition reading via the Internet back to the user’s computer.

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