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ECRM adds philanthropic arm to School and Office EPPS conference

BY Michael Johnsen

SOLON, Ohio ECRM added a new philanthropic twist to its School and Office EPPS conference being held in Dallas in September. The popular conference coordinator held back the last supplier spot for the show, and placed that opening on eBay June 1 to 8.

ECRM netted $21,000 for the full planning session, which typically runs around $17,000, awarding the winning bid to Executive Machines. And all of that money was donated to The Kids In Need Foundation, an organization with the mission to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need.

“We have been involved with Kids In Need for several years now and respect what a quality organization that they have created and the difference they have made nationwide,” stated ECRM CEO Charlie Bowlus. “We stand behind their mission and will continue to support them and promote their cause. We are very appreciative that Executive Machines … has been so generous.”

The Kids in Need National Network of Resource Centers includes 23 facilities that allow teachers from low-income schools to obtain free school supplies for their students and has distributed nearly $300 million in school supplies since its founding — directly benefiting 1.6 million students and 100,000 teachers annually — and has awarded $1 million in grants to teachers.

ECRM’s School and Office show will host around 140 registered vendors Sept. 13 to 17, making it one of the largest in the industry, with more than 800 individuals in attendance.

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Pharmacy groups brief Congress on health, cost benefits of MTM

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON Extending a long campaign to educate federal lawmakers on the value of pharmacy-based patient care services, three pharmacy groups Tuesday briefed members of Congress on the benefits of pharmacist-provided medication therapy management.

Hosting the briefing: the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association and the Iowa Pharmacy Association. The event was moderated by Edith Rosath, SVP pharmacy affairs and chief economist at NACDS, and included participants from the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy, Mirixa and the University of Iowa. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, also addressed the informational briefing.

The briefing panel discussed patient-care benefits of MTM, the practical impact on providing healthcare to rural and underserved populations, and the cost-saving potential for inclusion within comprehensive healthcare reform legislation.

“As the face of neighborhood healthcare, pharmacists are medication experts, and are uniquely in tune with their patients’ medication needs and requirements,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “Pharmacist-provided medication therapy management enhances the pharmacist-patient relationship, improves communication and dialogue, encourages proper patient adherence to medication regimes, and provides unique and individual healthcare services, especially to those patients who suffer from chronic disease.”

Anderson thanked lawmakers “for listening to the nation’s medication experts at today’s informational briefing,” and cited the benefits of MTM and other pharmacy services. Those innovations, he told members of Congress, “have the ability to transform the healthcare delivery system in America and improve individual health care, encourage a healthier population while also reducing overall costs.”

NCPA EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts also addressed the gathering, admonishing lawmakers that pharmacists “are much more than the purveyors of a commodity. They offer a wide array of services that can maximize the benefits of medications for patients.

“That’s why we strongly support medication therapy management and believe those efforts can be buttressed through the legislative process,” Roberts added. He praised Rep. Loebsack, in particular, for his efforts to expand MTM services.

“Now more than ever, as we discuss healthcare reform and improving medication adherence, embracing pharmacist-provided MTM is a no-brainer,” Roberts noted.

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Waxman asks Obama to look for alternative pathway for biosimilars

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON With biosimilars legislation stalling in both houses of Congress, one of its chief proponents is calling on the Obama administration to let the Food and Drug Administration approve the legistlations with or without a regulatory pathway, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has asked the administration to look for ways to grant approval for biosimilars before either of the bills passes, to allow the FDA to approve them.

Waxman — who co-sponsored the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, creating a regulatory pathway for generic pharmaceutical drugs — introduced a bill on March 11 to allow biosimilars. That bill, H.R. 1427, would grant biotech companies five years’ market exclusivity before their products faced biosimilar competition. Waxman’s bill, with 11 co-sponsors and a companion bill in the Senate, competes with fellow California Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo’s H.R. 1548, introduced six days after Waxman’s, which would grant up to 14 years of exclusivity to biotech companies and had 87 co-sponsors in the House as of Tuesday.

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