PHARMACY

Lilly to expand Indianapolis insulin factory

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS – Eli Lilly is spending $140 million to expand its insulin manufacturing plant in Indianapolis, the drug maker said.

Lilly said it would expand the plant by 80,000 sq. ft., saying it represented one of the most significant investments in its U.S. manufacturing operations in the past decade. Construction is expected to start immediately, with completion planned for March 2014.

“Lilly is committed to providing a full range of innovative treatment options for people with diabetes,” chairman, president and CEO John Lechleiter said. “The need in our country is great, and it is growing. This investment will help us to better meet that need while expanding our advanced manufacturing footprint in our home state, helping to strengthen Indiana’s bioscience industry.” 

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Sears Holdings taps former OfficeMax exec to lead grocery, drug and Rx business

BY Antoinette Alexander

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings has announced that Ryan Vero will join the company as SVP and president of grocery, drug and pharmacy.

Vero most recently served as the EVP and chief merchandising/marketing officer for OfficeMax. In his new role with Sears Holdings, Vero will be responsible for the oversight, leadership and growth, both in-store and online, for the company’s grocery, drug and pharmacy businesses.

"Ryan’s breadth and depth of experience in both stores and online make him a terrific fit to lead these very important businesses at our company," stated Ron Boire, Sears Holdings’ EVP, chief merchandising officer and president of Sears and Kmart formats. "Ryan is a proven executive who focuses on customers and innovation, two key qualities that support our drive to be the leader in integrated retail."

Vero has more than 17 years of experience with OfficeMax. In his most recent position, he was responsible for merchandising, marketing, new channels and e-commerce business, in addition to global sourcing, private brands, product development and pricing. Vero distinguished himself while at OfficeMax through the development of innovative marketing campaigns, store formats and private brands that enabled the company to overtake Office Depot as the nation’s second leading office products retailer behind Staples. He will bring some fresh thinking to Sears Holdings regarding how the company can invigorate its brand, generate customer traffic and provide a differentiated multichannel experience to drive much need same store growth.

Vero added, "I am excited about the opportunity to join Sears Holdings and provide our customers and members greater value in all areas of health and wellness while serving them at over 920 pharmacy locations nationwide."

 

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Meningitis outbreak linked to compounding pharmacy spawns new proposed legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., on Thursday announced plans to introduce legislation that would strengthen federal regulations of compounding pharmacies. The legislation is borne out of the recent meningitis outbreak linked to the New England Compounding Center, which is located in Markey’s district, that has drawn much criticism on how regulators oversee compounding pharmacies. According to Markey, the Verifying Authority and Legality in Drug Compounding Act will give the Food and Drug Administration clear, new authority to oversee compounding pharmacy practices throughout the country.

“Compounding pharmacies have been governed by fragmented regulations for too long, leading to the worst public health disaster in recent memory,” said Markey, a senior member on the Energy and Commerce Committee. “The VALID Compounding Act ends this regulatory black hole by giving the FDA new, clear authority to protect patients and oversee these companies."

The industry expressed mixed feelings over the proposed legislation. “We appreciate and agree with Rep. Markey’s interest in wanting to achieve the proper balance to promote patient health and allow for traditional pharmacy compounding services to continue, while addressing any entities illicitly manufacturing pharmaceuticals under the guise of compounding, as highlighted by the tragic meningitis outbreak," stated John Coster, SVP government affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association. "The New England Compounding Center appears to have been engaged in inappropriately manufacturing medications and doing so without valid prescriptions," he said. “However, the proposed legislation also appears to create new overly broad requirements on traditional pharmacy compounding that could negatively impact both patients’ access to essential medications and the community pharmacists who provide them. As currently drafted, the legislation would grant new powers to an already stretched FDA to regulate traditional pharmacy compounding, and create new roadblocks for patients by requiring waivers for pharmacists to make medications that they have been making safely and effectively for decades."

The NCPA is currently reviewing the legislation and will submit comments to Markey, Coster noted. 

“This bill will save lives by ensuring that compounding pharmacies play by the rules that are essential to protect patients,” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund. “This month’s tragic meningitis outbreak from contaminated steroid injections was absolutely preventable. We call on Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to pass congressman Markey’s legislation, which is necessary to protect our families from these predictable, preventable tragedies.” 

The legislation has been endorsed by the Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund, Jacobs Institute for Women’s Health, National Consumers League, National Research Center for Women & Families, Our Bodies Ourselves and Union of Concerned Scientists.

A copy of the VALID Compounding Act can be found here

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