PHARMACY

APhA emphasizes pharmacists’ role at front of healthcare line

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The American Pharmacists Association wants to ensure that pharmacists continue to play a significant role in health care, and made the pharmacist’s ever-expanding role the main focus of its annual meeting in Seattle, which ended Monday.

“APhA’s strategic focus is on advancing the practice model and recognizing the pharmacist as an essential member of the healthcare team, empowering members to engage in expanded patient-care roles, advocating for the profession and patients, and growing leaders for APhA and pharmacy practice,” incoming president and Columbus, Ohio-based pharmacist Marialice Bennett said in her address, titled “Perseverance Will Lead to a Stronger Tomorrow.”

The conference, which drew more than 6,500 attendees, focused on such topics as medication therapy management, adherence, the Food and Drug Administration’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, and pharmacogenomics.

“We have done remarkable work to build a globally recognized association and to ensure our profession’s future,” Bennett said. “But we can never rest when so many of our patients are struggling or when the miracles these medications can represent go unrealized. It is our responsibility to transition from making and providing medications for our patients to making medications work for our patients. As a profession, we must serve as the [medication therapy management] pharmacist for the American public and help patients make the best of their medications.”

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PHARMACY

Kerr Drug CEO honored for role in healthcare field

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. — Kerr Drug CEO Tony Civello has received recognition for Health Care Hero Lifetime Achievement from the Triangle Business Journal, Kerr said Tuesday.

The journal cited Civello’s work to refocus retail pharmacy in the healthcare field and his leadership in the retail pharmacy industry.

“Pharmacists are totally underutilized in health care,” Civello said. “Now more than ever, just handing a bag of medicine to somebody and ringing them up isn’t a good use of their education. The best and most cost-effective way to improve the healthcare system is to have pharmacists and physicians working together for the overall benefit of patients.”

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s school of pharmacy, Civello was in charge of the group that purchased Kerr in 1997, and since has led the chain to focus on such clinical services as immunizations and medication therapy management, while the company has expanded into such areas as specialty pharmacy and long-term care pharmacy through its Kerr Health program.

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Watson confirms generic OxyContin patent challenge

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Generic drug maker Watson Pharmaceuticals is hoping to become the first to market a version of a popular opioid painkiller.

Watson said it had filed applications with the Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for a generic version of Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin (oxycodone) extended-release tablets in the 10-, 15-, 20-, 30-, 40-, 60- and 80-mg strengths.

Purdue filed suit against Watson last week in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York, the District of Delaware and the Southern District of Florida, seeking to prevent Watson from marketing its version before the expiration of five patents scheduled to expire in 2017 and 2025, according to FDA records.

If Watson wins approval from the FDA, it will be entitled to 180 days in which to directly compete with Purdue’s version. OxyContin had sales of about $3.1 billion in 2010, according to IMS Health.

In other news, Watson said it received a “favorable” ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in its efforts to market a generic version of Teva Women’s Health’s contraceptive Seasonique (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol [0.15 mg/0.03 mg] and ethinyl estradiol [0.01 mg]). The court reversed and remanded for trial a March 31 summary judgment order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada regarding Watson’s challenge to U.S. Patent No. 7.320,969; Watson had filed an approval application with the FDA for a version of the drug containing a Paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the ‘969 patent, which is scheduled to expire in January 2024, was invalid, unenforceable or not infringed.

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