PHARMACY

Walgreens, Vanderbilt Med Center to provide home healthcare services

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Adding to its rapidly expanding healthcare service portfolio, Walgreens has forged a joint venture through its OptionCare home care services with Vanderbilt Medical Center, a Nashville, Tenn.-based comprehensive healthcare facility and a major patient referral center for the mid-South. The jointly run project will operate under the name Vanderbilt Home Care, affiliated with Walgreens Infusion and Respiratory Services, and will be located in Brentwood, Tenn.

The center will offer home infusion and respiratory services, giving patients a cost-effective, at-home alternative to receiving intravenous drug therapy in the hospital. Clinicians at the center will provide home infusion for anti-infectives, inotropics, parenteral nutrition, pain management and other therapies.

Paul Mastrapa, president of Walgreens-OptionCare, praised the joint venture. “The opportunity to join with a leading regional medical center…provides us with the opportunity to strengthen the services we offer our patients,” he said. “Vanderbilt’s commitment to clinical excellence and to delivering positive patient experiences mirrors our own. Together we will continue to focus on providing care and service in the best way possible for our patients.”

Laura Beth Brown, president of Vanderbilt Home Health Care Services, was also upbeat about the new partnership. “A joint venture with a company like Walgreens allows us to enhance the way we meet our mission by providing home infusion, respiratory services and durable medical equipment for all patients in the community,” she said. “The value of this partnership allows patients to receive care in their homes and promotes independence and wellness in the community.”

This is the fourth such joint venture Walgreens has established; similar agreements have been struck with health organizations in Idaho, Ohio and Oregon to provide home infusion and respiratory therapies.

Mastrapa said the venture with Vanderbilt would expand. “While the initial service provided by our joint venture is home infusion therapy, plans call for the addition of home respiratory services later this year,” he noted.

Walgreens’ commitment to a broader health care mission continues to grow. The company now delivers home infusion, respiratory/oxygen and medical equipment services through more than 100 accredited home care facilities in 36 states, along with clinical programs that aim for a coordinated approach to care between patients, physicians and insurance plans.

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Par reports increase in revenue, income and EPS for Q2

BY Alaric DeArment

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. Generic drug maker Par Pharmaceutical Cos. got a jump in revenues and net income during second quarter 2009, the company announced in an earnings report Tuesday.

Par reported total revenues of $404 million, net income of $23.8 million and diluted earnings per share of 71 cents. This compared with reported revenues of $112.9 million, a net loss of $21.2 million and diluted earnings per share of 64 cents during second quarter 2008.

The company also saw increases in product sales. Sales of the heart disease drug metoprolol succinate – an authorized generic version of AstraZeneca’s Toprol XL – were $306 million during the quarter, a 173% increase over first quarter 2009. The injected migraine headache drug sumatriptan, a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s Imitrex, had sales of $21.8 million, compared to $16 million during the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the antihistamine meclizine, a generic version of Pfizer’s Antivert, was $8.9 million, compared with $9.8 million during first quarter, the decrease resulting primarily from trade buying patterns.

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FlavorX Flavoring System helps the medicine go down

BY Alaric DeArment

BOSTON Mary Poppins may have observed a spoonful of sugar’s ability to help wash medicine down, but a mouthful of bitter syrup continues to be an unpleasant experience for any child.

FlavorX, a company based in the Baltimore and Washington area, has designed an automation dispensing aid designed to improve the palatability of medicines for children.

The FlavorX Flavoring System uses a bitterness suppressor and sweetness enhancer to allow pharmacists to mask the taste of many prescription and OTC medications in a wide variety of flavors, speeding up the flavoring process while giving the pharmacist complete control of the process.

According to some research, 86% of parents found that flavoring by the pharmacist influenced children’s success in taking the asthma drug prednisone, while 40% of children completed their therapies without flavoring.

“These figures clearly illustrate that flavoring medications promotes better patient compliance and increases positive clinical outcomes,” FlavorX president and CEO Stuart Amos said in a statement. “We wanted to help pharmacists fill a flavored prescription faster and meet the increasing demand as well as help patients get well.”

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