PHARMACY

Former Johnson & Johnson head dies at 94

BY Allison Cerra

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. A former leader of one of the largest health conglomerates in the world died Friday at 94.

Richard Sellars rose from junior salesman to chairman of the board and CEO during a career that spanned 40 years at Johnson & Johnson. Sellars joined Johnson & Johnson’s sales force in 1939, and began a rapid rise within two of the company’s major affiliates, Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. and Ethicon. He became president of the company in 1970, and chairman of the board one year later. In 1973, he became chairman and CEO, a position he held until his retirement from that post in 1976. From then until his retirement in 1979, Sellars served as chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s finance committee. One of his many accomplishments while at Johnson & Johnson was being part of the New Brunswick Tomorrow project to revitalize the city that held the company’s headquarters.

“Richard Sellars was an inspirational leader who filled all who met him with a deep sense of the company’s responsibility to its customers, employees, community and shareholders,” said William Weldon, chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson. “He will be missed.”

Sellars is survived by his wife, Doris, four children, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

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NCL: Patients concerned about therapeutic substitution

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Nearly 75% of consumers would feel “very concerned” if a drug they used was switched to another drug designed to treat the same condition without their doctors’ knowledge, according to a new survey by the National Consumers League. One-in-5 said they still would be concerned if their doctors knew.

The practice, known as therapeutic substitution, has become common among insurance companies as healthcare costs have increased. The practice involves switching a medication that is not chemically equivalent or simply a generic version, but belongs to the same class as what the patient already takes.

“Consumers are justifiably concerned about the practice of therapeutic substitution, how it’s done and who’s involved,” NCL executive director Sally Greenberg said. “For some conditions and treatments, it may make good financial and medical sense to swap out one prescription for another. But, as consumers reported in our survey, it’s essential for them to be part of the process, to know their doctor is aware and supportive of the switch and to feel confident that their health and treatment – not financial incentives – are top priority.”

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Independents will gain clout with NCPA-CDC alliance

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The partnership between the National Community Pharmacists Association and Chain Drug Consortium brings together one of the largest pharmacy trade groups in the country with one of the largest purchasing organizations.

(THE NEWS: NCPA, CDC buying group forge new ties. For the full story, click here)

This means the amount of clout that the NCPA has on Capitol Hill will combine with the CDC’s purchasing and marketing abilities to help bolster independents, a segment of the pharmacy industry that often has struggled in comparison with the big national chains.

For the NCPA, it also might be a way to attract new members. The CDC’s membership includes a number of regional chains around the country that still may qualify for NCPA membership and often face many of the same challenges as independents, especially considering the difficulties that the group often has had in finding new members and the number of independent pharmacies that have been forced to close down over the years.

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