PHARMACY

Independent Pharmacy Cooperative joins RxAlly

BY Alaric DeArment

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — An organization representing independent pharmacies has joined a recently announced nationwide pharmacy network that aims to get patients to receive personalized care from their pharmacists.

The Independent Pharmacy Cooperative, which represents some 4,000 stores, announced that it had joined the RxAlly network, which includes more than 20,000 pharmacies across the country and whose membership includes independent pharmacy groups, regional chains and Walgreens. The network’s launch was announced Feb. 22 with the stated goal of improving patient health outcomes and reducing costs. American Associated Pharmacies, which represents about 2,000 independent pharmacies, also has joined.

"Independent pharmacies struggle every day to maintain their bottom line while trying to focus on their patients," IPC president and CEO Don Anderson said. "They must deal with increasing pressures from government regulations, reimbursements, payer sources and more while searching for ways to improve the outcomes of their patients and to control increase healthcare costs."


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NACDS’ Nicholson testifies before House panel, highlights pharmacy’s commitment to curbing Rx diversion, abuse

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Thursday testified before the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to emphasize retail pharmacy’s commitment to preserving patient safety and high-quality care.

NACDS’ Kevin Nicholson, a registered pharmacist and NACDS’ VP government affairs and pharmacy advisor, testified before the subcommittee during its hearing titled “Prescription Drug Diversion: Combating the Scourge.”

Nicholson emphasized chain pharmacies’ “zero tolerance” for prescription drug diversion.  In his comments he stated, “We have implemented a variety of extensive and robust loss prevention and internal security systems, from our prescription drug distribution centers to point of dispensing to patients.”

He cited examples, including the use of camera surveillance and complex alarm systems, training employees how to handle suspicious prescriptions and conducting background checks and random drug testing for employees.

Nicholson also highlighted chain pharmacies’ participation in state prescription drug monitoring programs.

“We support policies to prevent illegitimate Internet drug sellers from illegally selling prescription drugs to consumers, and we support efforts to provide consumers with means for the proper disposal of unwanted medications in ways authorized by law enforcement,” Nicholson stated before the panel.

As reported by Drug Store News, NACDS earlier in the week endorsed H.R. 4095, “The Online Pharmacy Safety Act,” which it says would take important steps to shut down illegitimate Internet drug sellers.

In his testimony, Nicholson also cited NACDS’ engagement with the Drug Enforcement Administration on diversion trends and to assist in developing strategies to mitigate and reduce problems.

“For the ultimate good of patients who rely on access to controlled substances for legitimate purposes, such as pain management, we urge DEA to take a holistic approach when developing policies to pursue enforcement actions,” Nicholson stated.

NACDS stated that it is highly engaged in efforts to remedy this problem, working with the Food and Drug Administration to develop prescription drug risk management programs, called REMS, to reduce the potential for addiction and abuse of prescription drugs; as well as routinely meeting with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, on trends and solutions.

Summarizing NACDS’ commitment to finding solutions to combat prescription drug diversion and abuse, Nicholson stated, “We are proud of the comprehensive approach that chain pharmacies have taken, and look forward to continuing our work with federal and state policymakers to implement solutions, including expanding prescription drug monitoring programs, shutting down illegitimate Internet sites, and providing consumers with the ability to safely dispose unwanted prescription drugs.” 

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PTCB names retired Air Force colonel as CEO, executive director

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The country’s largest organization that certifies pharmacy technicians has a new leader.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board announced Thursday the selection of retired Air Force colonel Everett McAllister as its new executive director and CEO, replacing interim executive director William Schimmel, who will return to his role of associate director.

McAllister has worked in various healthcare leadership positions for 27 years, previously serving as deputy director of the pharmaceutical operations directorate for Tricare management activity in the office of the assistant secretary of defense. In this role, he served as the senior Department of Defense military pharmacist and policy adviser.

In other news, the PTCB announced the launch of the CREST Initiative Survey to collect professional feedback on recommended changes to its certification program. Recommendations include the creation of specialty pharmacy technician exams and additional certification requirements, such as requiring a minimum period of practical experience, criminal background checks and completion of an accredited education program. The CREST Initiative began last year with a summit focused on consumer awareness, resources, education, state policy and testing related to pharmacy techs.

"Changes to the PTCB certification program have potential to impact hundreds of thousands of pharmacy technicians nationwide," PTCB director of professional affairs Megan Sheahan said. "Candidate eligibility requirements have remained largely unchanged since the organization’s founding in 1995."


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