HEALTH

Omron Healthcare, Dr. Oz team up to underscore home blood-pressure monitoring

BY Michael Johnsen

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. Omron Healthcare has joined forces with "The Dr. Oz Show" in an integrated media partnership to help spread the word about the importance of home blood pressure monitoring, Omron announced Thursday.

 

“High blood pressure is a growing concern in the United States among adults, and is often referred to as the ‘silent killer,’” stated Ranndy Kellogg, Omron Healthcare VP marketing and product development. “We’re thrilled to align with ‘America’s Doctor’ in the Sept. 7 season premier to help spread the word about the importance of home blood pressure monitoring, further helping to decrease the risk of heart disease and increase life expectancy.”

 

 

The Omron Healthcare integration includes a sponsored segment on "The Dr. Oz Show’s" premiere episode, in addition to a consumer incentive that will be revealed by Dr. Oz during the show. The first 50,000 visitors to DoctorOz.com will be able to download a $10 coupon good on any Omron Healthcare home blood pressure monitor at participating retailers.

 

 

The second season of "The Dr. Oz Show" will stress to viewers to “Know Your Five,” and blood pressure is one of those lifesaving numbers Americans need to know. As many as 1-in-3 people suffer from high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. And, research showed home blood pressure monitoring can be vital to reducing a patient’s risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure.

 

 

Monitoring blood pressure at home is an important measure people can take to reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. More than 50% of people with high blood pressure who monitor at home show an improvement in medication compliance and are quicker to take action.

 

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‘Multifaceted strategies’ can improve medication adherence among patients

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO Improving medication adherence will require bringing multiple methods together in order to be successful, Pharmacy Quality Alliance senior director for research and performance measurement David Nau said Tuesday in an education session at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Pharmacy and Technology Conference in San Diego.

 

“You need to have a multifaceted strategy around adherence if you want to have an impact on adherence,” Nau said.

 

 

According to last year’s study by the New England Healthcare Institute, poor medication adherence increases medical costs by up to $290 billion. The estimated one-third of patients who do not take their medications properly fail to do so for a number of reasons, which Nau boiled down to five social-economic, patient-related, therapy-related, condition-related and healthcare system-related factors, including costs of medications, fear of side effects and dependence, complexity of regimens, comorbidities and lack of incentives.

 

 

Complexity of medication regimens can be a particular problem for patients with chronic conditions. According to a study of patients using statins for cardiovascular disease, the average user studied took 11 medications, including nine maintenance medications, and often had to visit multiple pharmacies and had multiple prescribers; 10% of statin users studied took 23 or more medications. But according to another study, conducted by Harvard University and CVS Caremark, patients demonstrated greater adherence when they synchronized their refills and were able to fill all their prescriptions at one pharmacy.

 

 

All these factors mean that combating nonadherence requires a number of different approaches rather than simple interventions, Nau said. “It’s not just about counseling; it’s not just about slashing co-pays — it’s about having a multifaceted strategy,” he said.

 

 

Future trends that could affect adherence include deals between drug companies and pharmacy benefit managers, integration of medication reminders into social networking sites and medication-delivery technologies allowing delivery of multiple drugs in one pill, or implants that automatically administer doses. The last trend already is under way, to an extent, with the introduction of combination drugs for hypertension, such as Novartis’ Tekamlo (aliskiren and amlodipine besylate), which the Food and Drug Administration approved in late August.

 

 

Following Nau’s presentation, Rite Aid director of clinical services Rick Mohall took the stage to show some of the retail pharmacy chain’s adherence programs, such as automatic refills, reminder calls, medication therapy management and the Wellness+ rewards card. “Generally, what’s good for the patient is good for the pharmacy as a business,” Mohall said.

 

 

Both presenters emphasized the role of pharmacists in solving the nonadherence problem, with Nau citing a study from this year showing that physicians are “rather ineffective” in promoting medication adherence. “The greatest intervention tool, the thing that all these things need to point to, is the pharmacist,” Nau said.

 

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Walgreens to acquire assets of 18 ApothecaryRx pharmacies

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has reached a definitive agreement with Graymark Healthcare to acquire the company’s assets of 18 retail pharmacies across five states.

Graymark Healthcare’s subsidiary, ApothecaryRx, is an independent retail pharmacy business. Affected ApothecaryRx patients in Colorado, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Missouri and Illinois will be notified upon the transaction’s closing. The deal is expected to close in fourth quarter 2010, Walgreens said.

“We have a long history of providing high quality pharmacy services in these markets,” said Walgreens operations VP Bill Miller. “Our staff is dedicated to making the transition as seamless as possible for our new customers. We look forward to introducing them to the unique offerings that have made Walgreens one of the country’s most trusted providers of pharmacy, health and wellness services and daily living needs.”

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