Pharmacy Week in Review: Walmart to Leave CVS Partnership, Biomarkers Found for Prostate Cancer


A look at last week's top stories in the world of pharmacy.

A look at last week's top stories in the world of pharmacy.


Hello and welcome to the Pharmacy Times News Network. I’m Nicole Grassano your host for our Pharmacy Week in Review.

CVS Health officials have said that Walmart has opted to leave the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management commercial and Managed Medicaid retail pharmacy networks, Pharmacy Times reported. This is because "Walmart requested reimbursement increases that would ultimately result in higher costs for clients and consumers," according to a statement on the CVS website. CVS Caremark has requested that Walmart continue to fill prescriptions as an in-network participating pharmacy through April 30, 2019. This transition does not affect Walmart's participation in the CVS Caremark Medicare Part D pharmacy network. In addition, Walmart's Sam's Club division remains in the CVS Caremark pharmacy networks.

Between 6 and 7 million people have been sick with influenza so far during the 2018-2019 season, according to data released on January 11, 2019, from the CDC, Contemporary Clinic reported. Up to half those who have or had influenza have sought medical care for their illness, and between 69,000 and 84,000 people have been hospitalized from the flu. These data are derived using the same mathematical model used to generate previous end-of-season estimates, but this is the first time the data are being released during the season, CDC officials said. Calculations are based on adjusted rates of laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated hospitalizations collected through a surveillance network that covers about 8.5% of the U.S. population, or about 27 million people.

A new study has identified biological markers that may distinguish between low-risk and intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancer, ultimately helping to guide treatment decisions, Specialty Pharmacy Times reported. The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, determined that genetic alterations associated with intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancer may also be present in some cases of low-risk prostate cancers. More than half of the 200,000 American men diagnosed each year with prostate cancer by biopsy could be considered at low risk of progression to cancer, the researchers wrote. Men with low-risk cancer are candidates for active surveillance, but some choose surgery to mitigate potential disease progression.

Pharmacists may get more questions about Aleve if their patients have seen a new commercial for the OTC pain reliever. In the spot, called “Still Thinking,” when comparing brands, a shopper reports that Aleve relieves pain better than Tylenol Extra Strength. She says the medicine also lasts longer with fewer pills, leading her to purchase Aleve.

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Thanks for watching our Pharmacy Week in Review. I’m Nicole Grassano at the Pharmacy Times News Network.

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