PHARMACY

Chain pharmacy lauds efforts for safe use of pediatric acetaminophen products

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores delivered on Tuesday testimony on the safe usage of pediatric acetaminophen products before a joint meeting of the Food and Drug Administration Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and Pediatric Advisory Committee.

"As [the] FDA has recognized in the past, acetaminophen is an extremely safe medication when used at recommended doses. In addition, it is one of the most commonly used medications in the United States. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that any new policies or regulations affecting availability of acetaminophen products are workable considering the great consumer need for, and widespread use of, these products," stated Kevin Nicholson, VP pharmacy adviser, government affairs and public policy with NACDS.

In the testimony, NACDS also expressed its support for the recent announcement that all single-ingredient pediatric acetaminophen products will be converted to one concentration.

"We are pleased that the makers of single-ingredient pediatric acetaminophen products have announced that they are converting all pediatric liquid acetaminophen formulations to one concentration. This, as well as other improvements and initiatives they have announced, will help patients and caregivers accurately dose pediatric acetaminophen products and help prevent medication errors," Nicholson added.

NACDS also highlighted its support for weight-based dosing instructions for all children’s single-ingredient liquid acetaminophen medicines.

"We believe that it will allow for more accurate dosing and help to reduce adverse incidents," Nicholson stated.

NACDS has been engaged in review of pediatric liquid acetaminophen formulations. In 2009, NACDS testified before an FDA advisory group detailing its recommendation to include dosing instructions for children younger than 2 years of age on labels of over-the-counter single-ingredient acetaminophen products intended for children.

The association also is a member of the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition, spearheaded by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the American Pharmacists Association to address acetaminophen-related issues and educational needs. The coalition will soon be launching a campaign to educate consumers about the importance of following directions on labels and how to properly use products containing acetaminophen.

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NCPA expresses support of Community Pharmacy Fairness Act of 2011

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Tuesday endorsed the Community Pharmacy Fairness Act of 2011 (H.R. 1839), legislation recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.

If passed, the bill will create a more competitive marketplace for the delivery of pharmacy services by enhancing the ability of independent community pharmacies to negotiate with pharmacy benefit managers, the association stated.

“For years, the major insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, have benefitted from an antitrust exemption and have opposed efforts to grant the same status to independent pharmacists,” stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA EVP and CEO. “This dynamic produces one-sided, take-it-or-leave-it contracts that can disadvantage community pharmacists with onerous contract terms while impeding true competition for consumers.”

The end result means more prescriptions for the PBM-owned mail-order pharmacies. “This inherent conflict of interest creates an even greater incentive for benefit managers to impose unfair audit and reimbursement practices [on community pharmacists],” Hoey added.

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APhA Foundation taps Mindy Smith as executive director

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The philanthropic arm of the American Pharmacists Association has appointed a new executive director.

The APhA Foundation announced Tuesday the appointment of Mindy Smith, who will lead the foundation’s operations, research objectives and strategic direction, providing support and guidance to the board of directors and monitoring pharmacy trends. Smith currently is CEO of the Arizona Pharmacy Alliance and previously served as executive director of the Wyoming Pharmacy Association.

“The APhA Foundation is excited to welcome Mindy and have her join us,” APhA Foundation board president Dennis Helling said. “Her commitment to the advancement of the profession is evident as is her dedicated service to pharmacy and enthusiasm for her work. She has served as the leader of two pharmacy associations and is a passionate political advocate.”

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