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SYNTEX NAPHOSYN PATIENT INFORMATION PROGRAM

Executive Summary

SYNTEX NAPHOSYN PATIENT INFORMATION PROGRAM will pay pharmacists up to $16 annually per patient, or $4 per quarterly counseling session, Twinsburg, Ohio-based General Computer Corp. announced Sept. 13. General Computer, through its year-old Cognitive Services Network venture, is providing free software to pharmacists that includes a "pop-up prompt" to assist in the counseling. General Computer is also coordinating the distribution of educational materials to participating patients. Currently, 10,000 community pharmacies have signed up for the CSN program and General Computer expects to have 15,000-20,000 participating pharmacies by the end of 1993. The Naprosyn SMART (Self Management Arthritis Relief Therapy) program is the first national launch for CSN. It is expected to begin the rollout in mid-October. For the Naprosyn patient plan, General Computer's software has been programmed to light up a prompt on the pharmacist's screen each time a Naprosyn NDC number is entered. The computer prompt will ask the pharmacist to check with the patient to see if the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is being taken for arthritis. If it is, and the patient does not show up as already registered in the Naprosyn program, then the pharmacist would be alerted to mention the availability of the program. Once a patient is enrolled, the computer keeps track of prescriptions filled and every three months will remind the pharmacist to provide counseling. A patient can enroll in the Syntex program by sending in a card, by calling an 800 number, or through the pharmacy's computer. A questionnaire will be mailed to enrolleees. Based on the patient's responses, chapters pertinent to the patient's specific condition would be highlighted in a textbook available to the patient through the program. Other materials offered through the Naprosyn program include: audio cassette tapes; a voucher to enroll in an educational course run through the Arthritis Foundation; and a quarterly newsletter. Quarterly progress surveys will be sent to the patient and responses will be forwarded to the patient's physician. Pharmacists will be provided "guidelines" reminding them what would be appropriate to discuss with patients at quarterly counseling sessions, General Computer noted. A pilot program for the Naprosyn effort is expected to begin the week of Sept. 27 and to run for three months. Originally, the pilot program was to run before the rollout but the schedule was pushed back and Syntex decided to proceed with the launch concurrently. Presumably, the decision to push ahead with the national launch was made with an eye to getting patients established in the program before naproxen goes off patent Dec. 21. This is the first cognitive service program Syntex has undertaken. The firm says that FDA has reviewed program materials. Under an Oct. 10, 1991 Consent decree with FDA, Syntex is required to preclear all ad and promotional materials for Naprosyn with the agency until Oct. 10 of this year ("The Pink Sheet" Oct. 14, 1991, p. 6). Syntex's Hamilton Pharmaceuticals subsidiary is taking orders for a generic version of Naprosyn, with shipments expected to begin Oct. 18 ("The Pink Sheet" Sept. 6, T&G-1). By offering a patient information program for Naprosyn, Syntex is pursuing a strategy similar to that employed by Zeneca, which offered the Wellspring program for patients on the brandname Tenormin while simultaneously marketing a generic atenolol through IPR. The Cognitive Service Network has test market programs for five other drugs, all of which are branded medications for chronic conditions. Programs offered by General Computer reimburse pharmacists at various rates: $4 per patient quarterly as in the Naprosyn program, or $5 or $10 per patient per year. In general, the fees appear to reflect a compensation rate of $1 per pharmacist minute. CSN program features available also include refill reminder cards for patients. CSN is a joint venture of General Computer and Zadox Health Care, which prepares educational materials on various diseases. For the Naprosyn program, Syntex is using Healthtrac of Menlo Park, Calif. and Hastings Therapeutic Advantage of Flemington, N.J. to design the program and prepare the educational materials. General Computer is a former Revco division that was spun off in 1986.
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