Hot off the press for October 10, 2005

October 10, 2005

ASHP waives dues for members affected by hurricanes CVS outlines Medicare 2006 strategic plan Walgreens helps seniors understand Medicare Rx plan WellPoint, Walgreens to serve Medicare beneficiaries Epilepsy group issues call to action to reduce birth defects Walgreens to acquire Schraft's specialty pharmacy Pfizer provides access to clinical trial information CIGNA, Duane Reade to market Medicare Part D plans Walgreens Wellness tour kicks off in Atlanta Medicare booklet errs on Rx plans CARE Pharmacies offer diabetes days Most think Vioxx verdict too tough on Merck Legal issues stall Nevada Rx imports R.Ph. buys tablet counting technology firm CVS/pharmacy promoting patient-R.Ph. relationship Maine's Rx discount program saves more than Ohio's ADHD drug safe for kids, adults cautioned FDA selects groups to help track drug safety ISMP's Cohen to use grant to fund med-error prevention

October 10, 2005

ASHP waives dues for members affected by hurricanes
ASHP is waiving membership dues for its members situated in regions designated by the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) as disaster counties eligible for FEMA's Individual Assistance Program. The waiver, which applies to members in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, affects more than 600 ASHP members. Under the program, ASHP will renew memberships at no charge for members in these counties whose renewals occur now through June 2006. ASHP president Jill E. Martin, Pharm.D., FASHP, said it felt wrong to send members in these hard-hit counties renewal notices. Martin commented that ASHP members shouldn't have to worry about their membership lapsing with so many other pressing matters to cope with. In addition to waiving dues, ASHP has reached out to hurricane victims by providing 100% match for more than $15,000 donated by staff members to the American Red Cross. Back to top

CVS outlines Medicare 2006 strategic plan
CVS announced its comprehensive strategy for serving the more than 42 million Medicare beneficiaries eligible for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. The plan focuses on educating and counseling seniors about the new Medicare Rx drug benefit and providing seniors with informational materials intended to assist them in selecting the plan that best meets their needs. Beginning Oct. 16, Medicare Information Centers will be set up in more than 5,400 CVS/pharmacy stores across the country. On Nov. 1 and on every Tuesday in November, CVS teams will host "Medicare Guided Tours" to answer customer questions and highlight the Medicare Part D information and resources available at CVS. Back to top

Walgreens helps seniors understand Medicare Rx plan
Walgreens is offering help with Medicare's new prescription insurance program at any neighborhood Walgreens from Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 15 from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. Pharmacy staff will explain how the new program works, help sort through different plans, and review the factors that should be considered in selecting the right plan. A second round of informational sessions will be held at every Walgreens from Nov. 8-12. Back to top

WellPoint, Walgreens to serve Medicare beneficiaries
WellPoint announced a new strategic relationship with Walgreen Co. to provide pharmacy services to Medicare Part D beneficiaries nationwide. The relationship is intended to address the needs of Medicare beneficiaries through proactive outreach, education, and enrollment information. Medication therapy management services will also be provided for qualified enrollees through Walgreens community retail pharmacies. Back to top

Epilepsy group issues call to action to reduce birth defects
The Epilepsy Foundation has issued a call to action to women of childbearing age who take an anticonvulsant medication for conditions that include epilepsy, migraine headaches, and certain psychiatric disorders, urging them to talk to their healthcare providers about treatment options. The risks to the fetus from anticonvulsant drug use occurs very early in the pregnancy. For more information, visit Patients interested in participating in an ongoing Pfizer clinical trial will find registration information at the National Institute of Health's Web site at Back to top

FDA selects groups to help track drug safety
The FDA has picked UnitedHealth Group and three other organizations to help it monitor drug effectiveness and safety by sifting through large computerized volumes of patient records. United Health's contribution to the surveillance network is through its Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Ingenix division, which has a database of 11 million patients. The other three organizations are the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute in Oakland, Calif.; Vanderbilt University in Nashville; and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of Wellesley, Mass. The organizations will receive between $1.3 million and $1.4 million each over the next five years to make data available to governmental researchers. Back to top

ISMP's Cohen to use grant to fund med-error prevention
ISMP president Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph., MS, recipient of the 2005 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's "genius grant," will use the $500,000 to expand current ISMP initiatives and pursue projects that he hasn't been able to do in the past. "I've been interested in pediatric medication errors. That's one area I think about, and obviously labeling and packaging issues." He plans on meeting with his ISMP staff to discuss how best to spend the money. Cohen will receive his first check for $25,000 in January 2006. The MacArthur grant is awarded to individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their professional pursuits and outstanding promise for important future advances. Cohen is being honored for his ability to lead national efforts to ensure safe medication use and protect patients. He praised his fellow pharmacists and said that they should be proud of the work they have done over the years in reporting medication errors. Back to top