PHARMACY

Profession is in ‘revolutionary’ times, says NACDS’ top pharmacy official

BY Jim Frederick

NEEDHAM, Mass. Pharmacy practitioners need to recognize that the profession is now in the midst of “revolutionary” changes and adapt to a far more proactive role in patient outreach and community care, a top executive with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores told more than 300 leaders in health care, business, government and community activism here Tuesday.

As the health paradigm shifts, pharmacists need to leverage their strengths as “medication experts” who can coordinate healthcare efforts within the community, and put patients at the center of those efforts, said Edith Rosato, SVP pharmacy affairs for NACDS and president of the NACDS Foundation. Rosato was addressing a meeting of the Massachusetts Health Council, the nation’s the largest and oldest council devoted to health issues.

The subject of her talk: “Transforming Pharmacy Practice: Managing a Changing Environment.” In her address, Rosato tracked community pharmacy’s evolving role and its ability, as a profession, to adapt to changes in the U.S. healthcare system.

“Pharmacy is embarking on revolutionary times,” Rosato asserted. ”It is only fitting that in the nation’s birthplace — Massachusetts — I lay out the importance of revolutionary change in our field. Only by recognizing this change can we learn to adapt our protocols and practices to better position pharmacy in medication adherence activities, which [improving] health outcomes for patients while also reducing overall healthcare expenditures.

“As the face of neighborhood health care, it is not only our duty to transform to better serve our patients — it is our responsibility,” she added.

By utilizing the accessibility and credibility of pharmacy with the effective use of health information technology and management efficiencies, Rosato told members of the council, pharmacists could play an even bigger role in proactive and integrated patient-centric health care. Among the tools they already wield, she said, are medication therapy management services, vaccinations, patient counseling, and prevention-and-wellness programs.

In a bit of irony, Rosato’s appearance in Massachusetts came as voters in this state were dealing the Obama administration a serious setback in its health-reform efforts by electing Republican Scott Brown to succeed Edward Kennedy, one of the Senate’s most vocal champions of health reform before his death last year.

Brown has vowed to fight reform legislation as the 41st Republican senator, and his election breaks the filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority Democrats have held in the Senate.

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Walgreens receives URAC accreditation for specialty pharmacy

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has been awarded accreditation from URAC, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare accrediting organization that establishes quality standards for the healthcare industry.

“We are very excited to have been awarded full accreditation as a specialty pharmacy provider from URAC,” said Michael A. Nameth, EVP Walgreens Health Services. “Patients who have been prescribed specialty medications often face significant challenges with life-changing illnesses, such as managing difficult therapies and in dealing with the financial burdens associated with their treatment. Walgreens is fully committed to providing our patients with the best support possible as they face these challenges.”

As a national specialty pharmacy provider, Walgreens delivers individualized care for people with complex health conditions while helping manage costs, the drug store chain said. The rapid growth of the specialty pharmacy industry has been fueled by the growing number of patients with complex chronic conditions that require more of the latest highly engineered pharmaceuticals.

“By applying for and receiving full accreditation as a specialty pharmacy provider, Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy has demonstrated a commitment to quality health care,” said Alan P. Spielman, URAC president and CEO. “Quality health care is crucial to our nation’s welfare and it is important to have organizations that are willing to measure themselves against national standards.”

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Decision Resources acquires BioTrends

BY Allison Cerra

WALTHAM, Mass. One of the world’s leading research and advisory firms focusing on healthcare insights and analysis acquired a provider of specialized, syndicated market research in clinically complex, small to mid-size pharmaceutical markets.

The acquisition of Exton, Pa.-based BioTrends by Waltham, Mass.-based Decision Resources will result in a significant expansion of Decision Resources’ portfolio planning segment of the biopharma business unit.

Jason LaBonte, Ph.D., newly appointed COO, Decision Resources’ biopharma portfolio planning and optimization said, “This important acquisition expands the breadth of our disease coverage. BioTrends’ deep clinical intimacy with specialized pharmaceutical markets and primary research-focused model enhances our high-value offerings to the biopharma industry.”

BioTrends is particularly well-known in the nephrology market, offering unique insights on drugs in that market. They also cover dermatology, gastroenterology, immunology/infectious disease and rheumatology markets and, as the newest company in the Decision Resources, Inc. portfolio, plan to expand their coverage of diseases.

“We are excited to begin our next wave of growth as a Decision Resources, Inc. company,” said Jennifer Robinson, president of BioTrends. “We bring to the table an emphasis on quality and a level of detail in our syndicated research that is second-to-none.”

BioTrends will remain headquartered in Exton, Pa.

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