PHARMACY

Coinstar ‘eyes’ SoloHealth

BY Allison Cerra

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Coinstar will help boost the retail presence of a self-service kiosks provider through a new deal.

Coinstar, known for its automated retail solutions, including its self-service coin counting machines and DVD kiosks branded under the namesake and Redbox, respectively, will invest in SoloHealth, a developer of such self-service kiosks as EyeSite, which provide users with free health screenings and information. SoloHealth currently is in the midst of developing its next-generation, comprehensive SoloHealth station, which will screen vision, blood pressure, weight and body mass index, as well as provide an overall health assessment free of charge. It also gives consumers access to a database of local doctors, the company said.

Investment details were not disclosed.

“As a leader in automated retail, Coinstar is continually looking for kiosk concepts that are innovative and compelling,” said Gregg Kaplan, Coinstar president and COO. “We believe that SoloHealth will address the changing market dynamics in the healthcare space by bringing free health-and-wellness screening to individuals who may not have accessed it otherwise.”

Added SoloHealth founder and CEO Bart Foster, “We are thrilled to have the support of Coinstar, a leader in automated retail. We live in a self-service society, and with the current environment, we believe SoloHealth’s platforms will provide a tremendous resource for consumers and the entire healthcare system by reducing healthcare costs, increasing access and empowering people to take action to improve their lives.”

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PHARMACY

MedPro Rx announces Education Is Power scholarship program

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. — Patients with bleeding disorders could be eligible for a scholarship from a specialty pharmacy provider that specializes in treating them.

MedPro Rx announced Sunday that patients with such disorders as hemophilia and von Willebrand disease attending college and active in their communities could be eligible for its Education Is Power scholarship program.

Twenty awards will be given, ranging in value from $500 to $2,500. The company estimated it has given away more than $250,000 in scholarships since 2006.

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GPhA responds to potential OGD funding cuts; announces exit of Gordon Johnston

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The generic drug industry’s main lobby in Washington is hoping to head off cuts to the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Generic Drugs, which it said could have a “devastating impact” on those who rely on generics.

Republicans in Congress have sought to reduce government spending by making large cuts to various domestic programs and agencies, including the FDA, which critics of the plan said could jeopardize food and drug safety.

In a letter to Republican House speaker John Boehner, Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid, and Office of Management and Budget director Jack Lew, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association wrote that the OGD has a backlog of more than 2,000 generic drug applications, including up to 365 first-to-file applications — a backlog that results in consumers and the government having to pay more than $200 for branded drugs because the generic versions remain unavailable.

“While we understand the difficult budget environment in which Congress is operating, the timely approval of additional generics would generate federal savings that far exceed the cost of fully funding the generic drug program,” the GPhA said.

In other news, the GPhA said Monday that VP regulatory sciences Gordon Johnston would resign and serve as senior adviser for regulatory sciences starting in April. Johnston took the VP regulatory sciences position in 2003. He has worked in the drug industry for more than 25 years and retired from the FDA in 1999 to serve as an industry consultant.

“Gordon’s commitment and contributions to the generic pharmaceutical industry over the years cannot be overstated,” GPhA chairman and Watson Pharmaceuticals president and CEO Paul Bisaro said. “He has helped increase communication and interaction with the FDA, implemented many programs that have helped our association play a critical role in quality and has been instrumental in preparing [the] GPhA to participate in the upcoming generic user fee negotiations. It’s impossible to adequately express our thanks for his tireless support of the generic industry and his outstanding service — not only for the association but also during the years he served in the FDA Office of Generic Drugs.”

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