PHARMACY

GPhA appoints Claire Sheahan as VP communications

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The Generic Pharmaceutical Association has appointed a new officer to head its communications, the industry trade group said Tuesday.

The GPhA announced the appointment of Claire Sheahan as VP communications, effective Jan. 22. Sheahan previously worked as SVP and partner of communications firm Fleishman-Hillard, leading the firm’s Washington-based healthcare practice.

"We are so pleased to welcome Claire to the GPhA team," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "Her exceptional background, especially the successful public international initiatives she has directed, here in Washington, nationally and globally, will be indispensable to our organization."


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PHARMACY

H.D. Smith secures majority ownership in patient assistance firm Triplefin

BY Michael Johnsen

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — H. D. Smith on Tuesday announced plans to secure majority ownership in Triplefin, a privately held reimbursement, patient assistance and pharmaceutical brand support services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. H. D. Smith will immediately obtain majority board vote, and by mid-2013, majority stock ownership.

"In keeping with our strategic intent of being the leader in controlling healthcare costs while maximizing patient outcomes, the collective strengths of Triplefin and Smith Medical Partners makes us an important voice in traditional brands and specialty medicines — a stronger partner for manufacturers; a more valuable service provider for institutions, acute care, physician offices, specialty pharmacies and retail pharmacies; and a reliable supplier for patients treated with prescription medicines," stated Dale Smith, chairman and CEO H. D. Smith. "The benefit of this investment is tremendous — providing both service and size expansion for our Smith Medical Partners specialty product business, and a boost to customers and patients with important, unique health needs. Together, our organizations create an end-to-end service value chain touching many elements of prescription medicine distribution and support."

"The combination of these companies is complementary in both service offerings and value to our collective customers," added Greg LaLonde, CEO Triplefin. "Smith Medical Partners brings to Triplefin critical support functions in traditional brand and specialty products distribution, clinical trial procurement and third-party logistics — all important functions necessary to support manufacturers, their brands and the patients that require specialized healthcare services in parallel with medical treatment."

The investment will combine Triplefin under H. D. Smith’s Specialty Solutions business alongside Smith Medical Partners.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


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U.S., Canadian health authorities report spot shortages of Tamiflu

BY Alaric DeArment

As if the reported spot shortages of flu vaccine aren’t bad enough, there have been reports of similar shortages of flu drugs throughout the United States and parts of Canada due to increased demand.

In a conference call with reporters Friday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist Joe Bresee said shortages of the oral suspension form of Roche’s Tamiflu (oseltamivir) for children had appeared in some parts of the country. According to the Food and Drug Administration, Roche U.S. subsidiary Genentech had supplies of the drug on "intermittent backorder," but supplies remained in distribution at wholesalers and pharmacies, and there was no shortage of the adult formulation. Where shortages of the pediatric formulation had appeared, the FDA said, it was possible for pharmacists to break the capsules of the adult pills and reconstitute the ingredient to create an equivalent dose.

Canada’s problem is just the opposite.

There, shortages of the adult formulation have appeared around the country amid unexpectedly high demand, prompting the Public Health Agency of Canada to draw on the national stockpile of the drug after discussions with Roche Canada.

"Canada has seen an earlier rise in flu cases than what we’ve seen in the last two years — in fact, our overall flu activity for this year is comparable to what we’ve seen for the entire 2011-2012 flu season," Public Health Agency of Canada director of surveillance and outbreak response Monique St-Laurent told Drug Store News. "Because of the increased flu activity, we’ve had a greater demand for the product than expected, and so it’s mainly the 75-mg formulation of Tamiflu. So we’ve been working with the manufacturer."

St-Laurent said doses of the drug were expected to arrive at intended destinations as the most populated provinces had seen a decline in cases, while the western and maritime provinces had seen a rise.


FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE FLU EPIDEMIC CLICK HERE

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