PHARMACY

Walgreens, TakeCare Clinics administer more than 1 million H1N1 vaccines

BY Antoinette Alexander

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens, which is offering H1N1 vaccinations at all of its pharmacies and Take Care Clinics nationwide, has administered more than 1 million H1N1 vaccinations to date this season, the company announced on Monday.

“Reaching 1 million H1N1 vaccinations, most of which have come in the last three weeks, shows that Americans truly value greater convenience and access to our healthcare providers,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens SVP pharmacy. “As our country looks for ways to control escalating healthcare costs, this flu season has demonstrated how Walgreens can help consumers lower costs and stay well throughout the year with our affordable, preventive healthcare services.”

There is heightened awareness around H1N1 vaccinations nationwide this week, as Jan. 10 marked the beginning of National Influenza Immunization Week, a Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative that highlights the importance of influenza vaccinations after the holiday season, into January and beyond. According to the CDC, the flu season peaks after the New Year 80% of the time.

H1N1 vaccinations currently are available at all of Walgreens more than 7,100 pharmacies and more than 350 Take Care Clinics nationwide. H1N1 vaccinations are available at Walgreens pharmacies on a walk-in basis when an immunizing pharmacist is on staff and also may be available by appointment. Take Care Clinics at select Walgreens stores in 19 states have nurse practitioners and physician assistants who will provide vaccinations on a walk-in basis daily, pending vaccine availability. Age restrictions for pharmacist-administered vaccinations vary by state, while Take Care Clinics can immunize children ages 2 years and older.

The cost for the vaccine is $18. Vaccinations are covered by Medicare and may be covered by Medicaid and other insurance plans. Consumers should check with their insurance provider for coverage details.

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PHARMACY

Walgreens offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens now is offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries at all of its more than 7,100 pharmacies throughout the country.

Following the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D insurance plans, Walgreens is assisting those beneficiaries who’ve made changes to their prescription drug coverage. Review sessions with Walgreens pharmacists are available daily by appointment through Jan. 31, and are designed to help patients maximize their plan benefits.

Review sessions include:

  • A review of beneficiary’s current medications, tiers within their selected plan, co-pays and cost-savings opportunities
  • Discussion of available health and wellness services including pneumonia and shingles vaccinations and 90-day prescription benefits
  • Checks for potential drug interactions

Customers can call their nearest Walgreens pharmacy to schedule an appointment. Visit www.walgreens.com or call 1-800-Walgreens for store locations and hours.

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Watson files FDA application for generic LoSeasonique

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Watson Labs, a subsidiary of specialty pharmaceutical company Watson Pharmaceuticals, has filed an abbreviated new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration for an oral contraceptive.

Watson is seeking approval to market its levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (0.10-mg/0.02-mg) oral contraceptive product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545, which is owned by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Teva.  Watson’s levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol product is a generic version of Teva’s LoSeasonique, which is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy.

On Nov. 23, 2009, pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, Watson notified Duramed that its ANDA requesting approval from the FDA for a generic version of LoSeasonique contained a paragraph IV certification asserting that the LoSeasonique patent is invalid, unenforceable and/or not infringed.  Teva Women’s Health filed suit against Watson on Jan. 6, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey seeking to prevent Watson from commercializing its product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545.  Based on available information, Watson believes it may be entitled to 180 days of generic market exclusivity or shared exclusivity should its product receive approval.

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