PHARMACY

Give me cigarettes or give me health: 82% of menthol smokers would quit if FDA banned menthol cigarettes, GSK survey finds

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Four-in-5 menthol smokers would quit if the Food and Drug Administration banned mentholated cigarettes, according to a survey conducted this month with sponsorship from GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.

The survey found that smokers of menthol cigarettes — who are disproportionately African-American — feel “twice-addicted” to the menthol and the tobacco, while 74% of them said the menthol made inhalation easier, and 40% said menthol flavoring was the only reason they smoked.

“Almost all menthol smokers in the survey reported they want to quit, but were less likely to have tried quitting than regular smokers,” National Medical Association president-elect and Duke University medical professor Cedric Bright said. “With the high interest in quitting among these smokers, more needs to be done to educate smokers about accessible resources, such as counseling and nicotine-replacement therapy, which are proven methods for improving success rates.”

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which president Barack Obama signed into law in 2009, banned most cigarette flavorings, such as cloves, but left menthol cigarettes legal while requiring a study on them. Still, a panel of the Food and Drug Administration, which was given authority to regulate tobacco products under the new law, recommended Friday that the agency consider banning menthol cigarettes.

Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30% of cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

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NewsBytes on WAG’s community Rx conference, ABC CEO’s retirement, CHPA’s new chair and more

BY DSN STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens in March expanded Joseph Magnacca’s role. As president of daily living products and solutions, Magnacca — the former Shoppers Drug Mart vet who as chief merchant of Duane Reade proved instrumental in the reinvention of the New York drug store chain — will oversee Walgreens’ marketing and merchandising operations, led by chief marketing officer Kim Feil and chief merchandising officer Bryan Pugh, but will report directly to president and CEO Greg Wasson.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas House of Representatives in March passed a bill that would require that pseudoephedrine-based products be sold by pharmacists only, and would restrict sales to state residents and military personnel only. The bill also would allow the state board of pharmacy to require similar restrictions on other nonprescription medicines, such as dextromethorphan.

CHICAGO — Walgreens has taken the message of the expanding role of community pharmacy to the streets. During the 11th annual Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium on March 15 in Philadelphia, Walgreens chief medical officer Cheryl Pegus highlighted the broad range of services that can be offered by the pharmacist beyond simply dispensing medication. Later that week, Richard Ashworth, Walgreens VP pharmacy services, talked about the consumer medical care model and how Walgreens’ pharmacists and nurse practitioners fit in, in a live online “Health Chat” hosted by Chicago Tribune reporter Bruce Jaspen.

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — After 37 years with the company, AmerisourceBergen CEO David Yost will retire, effective July 1. Yost will be succeeded by Steven Collis, currently president and COO, responsible for all AmerisourceBergen business units.

WASHINGTON — Members of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in March elected Paul Sturman, president and general manager of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, to chair the association’s board. Sturman is CHPA’s 54th chair and succeeds Christopher DeWolf of Lil’ Drug Store Products.

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition announced a partnership with Drug Store News to provide content about the dietary supplement industry to thousands of pharmacists through DSN’s Pharmacist Society — an online community that enables its users easy access to information most relevant to pharmacists.

TRABUCO CANYON, Calif. — Retired Leiner Health SVP marketing Bob LaFerriere, 62, passed away Feb. 4. LaFerriere, a 40-year drug industry veteran, began his career at Thrifty Drug and Discount Stores scooping ice cream. In 1992, LaFerrierre left Thrifty as SVP purchasing to become president and CEO at Slim Fast Foods.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens last month announced the sale of its pharmacy benefit management business, Walgreens Health Initiatives, to Catalyst Health Solutions for $525 million. Walgreens will retain and look to continue growing its specialty pharmacy and mail-service businesses. The transaction is expected to close in June.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Robert Ingle, 77, the founder and CEO of regional supermarket chain Ingles Markets, died March 6. Ingle will be succeeded by his son, Robert Ingle II, who has been Ingles’ chairman of the board since 2004.

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FDA extends NDA review for Novartis’ COPD treatment

BY Allison Cerra

BASEL, Switzerland — The Food and Drug Administration has extended its regulatory review period for Novartis’ new drug application for its once-daily, long-term maintenance bronchodilator treatment of airflow obstruction in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema, the drug maker said.

The FDA asked for a three-month extension in order to complete its review of the new drug application for QAB149 (indacaterol) by July, stating the agency needed more time to review the submitted data. The FDA did not request additional data from the drug maker, Novartis noted.

The drug, which will be available in 75-mcg and 150-mcg strengths, was endorsed by the FDA’s Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee for its safety.

"This three-month extension reflects discussion at the advisory committee based on the comprehensive clinical program, resulting in a large amount of data to be reviewed," said Trevor Mundel, global head of development at Novartis. "COPD is a life-threatening lung disease. We remain committed to bringing new therapies to patients who suffer from this condition."

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