PHARMACY

Branded prescription drug prices on the rise

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Retail prices of branded prescription drugs went up by 8.3% in 2009, according to an analysis released Wednesday by AARP.

The report, AARP’s first analysis of retail drug price trends, indicated that the price increases – in all but six of the 217 drugs studied – occurred despite general inflation remaining negative. Manufacturer prices increased more quickly, at 9.3%, according to the report. The organization also responded to criticism by drug companies that its drug price reports don’t take into account drug makers’ discounts and rebates by saying that the discounts do little to protect consumers.

“For the first time, we know that brand-name drug retail prices are growing just as quickly as manufacturer prices,” AARP EVP John Rother said in a statement. “These are increases that hit the wallets of every American, whether through their own healthcare bills or the costs of programs like Medicare and Medicaid.”

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PHARMACY

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board touts role in immunizations

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The main organization that certifies pharmacy technicians is touting its role in immunizations as the flu season approaches.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board noted that last year, Walgreens immunized more than 7.4 million patients against the H1N1 pandemic flu and seasonal influenza with the support of pharmacy techs the organization had certified. Walgreens requires its more than 380,000 pharmacy techs to receive certification from the PTCB.

“We believe PTCB [certified pharmacy technicians] enhance the pharmacy team, resulting in higher quality care for patients,” PTCB CEO and executive director Melissa Murer Corrigan said in a statement. “We applaud the influenza campaign efforts of Walgreens and its pharmacist immunizers and appreciate the way they have effectively utilized the skill sets of CPhTs across the country to better connect with the communities and patients they serve.”

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Bartell to mark 120th anniversary with new store

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE Regional retail pharmacy chain Bartell Drugs will open its 59th store next month, the company said Tuesday.

Bartell announced that the 15,000-sq.-ft. store would open Sept. 13 at Factoria Village in Bellevue, Wash., a city near Seattle. In addition to traditional pharmacy services and products, the store will include clinical care services and an international travel clinic. It also will be the first Bartell store to use solar energy to supplement conventional power sources, with panels on the roof and the face of the building.

Aribbon-cutting ceremony will take place Sept. 14 to mark the chain’s 120th anniversary. Family-owned Bartell Drugs is the oldest operating retail pharmacy chain in the United States.

“We have searched for several years for the right location in the Factoria neighborhood,” chairman and CEO George Bartell stated. “I am pleased that we will at least have a store there to serve the needs of those that asked for us.”

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