Safe Rx’s locking medication vial looks to secure meds
Safe Rx — maker of locking prescription vials — began with anesthesiologist and father of two Sean Serell, who recognized the potential danger of having medication laying around the house. Also noting the way pilfered drugs contributed to the opioid epidemic, Serell decided to create a vial based on a bike lock. Drug Store News spoke with Safe Rx chief commercial officer Andy Cipra to discuss how the company is reducing unintended access to medication with its products.
Drug Store News: What does the company offer in terms of retail products?
Andy Cipra: Currently, Safe Rx Locking Medicine Bottles are available in two sizes. The 18-dram or small bottle is available in amber and blue. It’s one of the most commonly used sizes in the pharmacy and [is] designed for the pharmacist to use to dispense new prescriptions. The 60-dram or large bottle was developed to secure a smaller traditional bottle inside. The Safe Rx Locking Medicine Bottle offers a unique safe storage solution that is convenient to use both at home and on the go. We have options for pharmacies to buy in bulk and fill prescriptions in the Safe Rx Locking Medicine Bottles for the patient, as well as retail products that can be sold over the counter, stocked on the shelf and included in displays.
DSN: Why should retailers carry the bottles for their patients?
AC: Offering Safe Rx Locking Medicine Bottles to patients is a simple, yet highly impactful action pharmacies can take to help stem the opioid crisis and differentiate themselves in the community by providing an inexpensive safe storage solution. In 2016, the last full year of available data, more than 64,000 people died from opioid and drug addiction, and more than 900,000 teenagers started abusing drugs for the first time. It affects all communities, including upper- and
lower-income areas, urban and rural communities, and the problem impacts millions of families each year.
However, we are doing little to prevent our teens from that first encounter of misusing prescription. Most of the current emphasis is on treatment, which can cost about $15,000 a year per person, which is often too late in the vicious cycle of abuse. Safe Rx Locking Medication Bottles offer an important step to preventing the problem, and gives the pharmacy an educational opportunity to discuss the dangers of these drugs and the importance of safe storage.
DSN: Where should they be placed in the store, and how should they be merchandised and marketed?
AC: Safe Rx is working with new retail customers to provide a turnkey approach to offering Safe Rx locking medicine bottles, with programs that include pharmacy starter kits, point-of-sale materials, discounted product for the first 90 days, and a pharmacist training plan. With each participating pharmacy location, Safe Rx also provides several media kits with a sample press release that allows retailers to reach out to local news media, community groups and government officials to recognize the retailer’s work to be part of the solution
DSN: What does the future look like for the company in terms of new products and promotional initiatives?
AC: The future looks very exciting — we continue to believe we can make a huge impact on reducing pilfering and saving lives. As a new company, we are getting great feedback from consumers, community leaders, parents, safety and prevention experts, doctors and pharmacists. We lock so many things up today — jewelry, guns, even our phones — so the idea of a simple, inexpensive solution to lock up everything from pills to vitamins is really resonating.
Andy Cipra is the chief commercial officer at Safe Rx.
Heritage Pharmaceuticals makes leadership changes
Heritage Pharmaceuticals has new leadership. The East Brunswick, N.J.-based company tapped William Marth as CEO and president of North America and Europe, as well as its parent company, Heritage Pharma Holdings.
“I am very pleased to accept the role of president and chief executive officer of North America and Europe for the company during this exciting time,” Marth said. “The Emcure family, Mr. Samson, and the entire Heritage team have built a very successful company, and I look forward to continuing that tradition of success by executing on the current strategies, as well as identifying new opportunities to create additional value for Heritage.”
Marth also was appointed as a member of its board of directors and to its affiliates, Marcan Pharmaceuticals and EmCure Pharma UK’s boards. Before joining Heritage, Marth was CEO and president of AMRI, CEO at Teva Pharmaceuticals and president of Teva Americas.
The company also appointed John Denman as president. Denman previously served as CEO and president of Renaissance SSA, where he oversaw the sterile products division.
“We are very pleased that Bill Marth and John Denman have decided to join our team. Bill is a recognized leader in the pharmaceutical industry who possesses invaluable expertise in formulating and executing strategic initiatives that have transformed pharmaceutical businesses,” Marvin Samson, chairman of the Heritage board of directors, said. “John is another great addition to the leadership team, having worked closely with Bill during his tenure with Teva.”
More medicine, more problems
IQVIA report puts value, costs at center of outlook
Perennial readers of the healthcare industry’s tea leaves, IQVIA — née QuintilesIMS — is once again looking into what the future holds for the healthcare market. The IQVIA Institute for Human Data and Science recently released its report on where the global health market is headed in the next five years.
“Global health is poised to meet a series of key turning points, and changes seen in 2018 will mark the key in directions that drive the outlook for the next five years and beyond,” the report said. “The types of medicines being developed, the way technology contributes to health and how the value of health care is calculated are all changing, markedly.”
Most of the projected trends have to do with two factors that increasingly are in focus — and that the report suggested will continue to be the object of scrutiny in the coming years — namely, cost and value. The report noted that with regard to innovation, the Food and Drug Administration’s access to robust, real-world data on treatments will continue to improve, health apps will make their way into treatment guidelines as an increasing number of studies validate their impact on outcomes, and telehealth use will expand, taking in some of the roughly 400 million visits to the emergency room, urgent care facilities and primary care doctors that can be shifted to lower cost sites of care.
Also among the innovative changes IQVIA projects in the next five years is the increased adoption of biotherapeutic drugs that have heretofore been niche products. These treatments, which include cell-based therapies, gene therapies and regenerative medicine, are expected to see between five and eight drugs join their ranks every year. And while this is promising for patients, gene therapies are something of a harbinger of the ways that reimbursement will need to change to match innovation.
The report also noted that curative treatments offer the ability to be billed at time of treatment, creating a possibly prohibitive cost density, which, coupled with small patient populations, could cause difficulty for payers. “While the flow of Next Generation Biotherapeutics is increasing, payment models have been slow to adapt. In the future, governments, insurers and patients will not be able to afford Next Generation Biotherapeutics without some mechanism to adjudicate which patients are eligible for treatments, negotiate payment based on outcomes or to amortize costs over time.”
An uptick in costly next-generation medication will come as IQVIA projects that, while branded medication spending will fall in developed markets, specialty medication will be the principal driver of spending growth. Branded medication prices are set to drop due to a confluence of factors, not the least of which is a patent expiry impact projected to be 37% larger from 2018 to 2022 than the previous five years. Additionally, new drug launches are expected to slow as most developed markets — save the United States — are expected to see branded drug price levels drop in the next five years.
“The steady level of spending will provide opportunities for payers to focus on addressing outstanding healthcare disparities, to increase access or to invest in approaches to address system inefficiencies,” the report stated.
Among the aspects that will need to be addressed will be the fact that, by 2022, specialty medications’ share of spending will surpass 50%. In 2018, IQVIA said that it will make up 41% of developed market spending — compared with $172 billion in 2013.
A focus on value will increase alongside this growth, and IQVIA highlighted outcomes-based contracts as playing a role in containing costs, though it noted that “the administrative burden on all parties will escalate and become prohibitive unless the outcomes are designed in measurable ways.” And biosimilar drugs also will see new potential in the coming years, with the report noting that by 2022, 77% of current biotech spending will be subject to some form of competition in the developed market. The only hurdle will be biosimilars makers pursuing the products that are difficult to manufacture.
“Clearly the greater the number of competitors, the greater the competition-indued savings for payers, but only time will tell how much savings biosimilars will generate,” the report said.