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Locator for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day collection site available online

BY Michael Johnsen

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. — Now available online, the Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day collection site locator allows consumers to search for a nearby location to dispose of unneeded medications on Saturday, April 26, 2014, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy announced Wednesday. On April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., thousands of DEA-coordinated collection sites will be available across the country, and consumers are encouraged to use this opportunity to safely and legally dispose of any unneeded pills, including prescription pain pills and other controlled substance medications, as these pills can only be accepted for disposal when law enforcement is present.

DEA reminds consumers that the take-back service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked. Sites will accept tablets, capsules and all other solid dosage forms of unwanted medication. Personal information may be blacked out on prescription bottles, or medications may be emptied from the bottles into the bins provided at the events. Check the DEA collection site locator often, as new locations will be added until April 26, 2014.

Consumers have disposed of more than 3.4 million pounds of unwanted medication during previous DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days. During the seventh DEA take-back event on October 26, 2013, more than 5,500 locations provided take-back services across all 50 states and U.S. territories. More information and a link to the DEA Take-Back Day collection site locator is available on the AWARxE website

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Publix VP distribution to retire

BY DSN STAFF

LAKELAND, Fla. — After 40 years of dedicated service, Publix Super Markets’ VP distribution Richard Schuler announced his decision to retire, effective May 2.  

Schuler began his Publix career in 1973 as an unloader in the company’s Miami distribution center. In 1979, he was promoted to grocery supervisor, fresh pack supervisor in 1982 and produce department head in 1987. He moved to the Deerfield distribution center as dispatch superintendent in 1991 and transferred back to Miami in 1995 as Miami distribution manager. Schuler was promoted to his current position in 2000.  

“Richard has made significant contributions to Publix, most notable of which is developing a strong and viable distribution support function for our stores," said Ed Crenshaw, Publix CEO. "Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to advocating for his customers and committed to the training and development of his associates. We wish him the very best as he begins the next chapter of his life.” 

With this retirement, Casey Suarez has been named VP distribution, effective May 3.

Suarez began his Publix career in 1978 as a part-time produce clerk at store 112 in South Miami. After working in different capacities at several stores in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, he was promoted to store manager in 1988 and Miami Division district manager in 1994. In 2011, Suarez relocated to Lakeland to assume the position of director of warehousing.

“As a 36-year Publix veteran, Casey’s background in retail operations and in warehousing gives him the unique ability to have insights into both functions of our business,” said Publix’ SVP distribution and manufacturing Mike Smith. “He has strong leadership abilities, which include engaging his associates, creating an inclusive workforce and promoting a strong sense of our Publix culture. We’re confident Casey and his team will continue to build a strong supply chain.”

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Pharmacy associations praise New York Medicaid victory

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The New York State legislature recently wrapped up its 2015 budget negotiations with a favorable outcome for community pharmacy: It rejected an executive branch proposal to change how New York’s Medicaid program reimburses pharmacies for prescription medications.

If enacted, the proposal would have cut payments to pharmacies by $82 million annually, according to estimates, by setting the price for drugs based on a three-month rolling average acquisition cost.

Following news of the victory, state pharmacy associations released a statement praising Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature for keeping Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement at the present level.

“We appreciate the rejection of another deep cut to pharmacies in the final state budget,” said Charles Catalano, president-elect of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York. “Every pharmacy sector in the state was united, and our collective voice was heard. Through this action the Governor and State Legislature have preserved patient access to essential pharmacy care in New York.”

After years of decreases, another pharmacy cut had been looming. Throughout 2012, the NYS Health Department conducted cost surveys and, on the basis of its statistical analyses, proposed a new below-cost reimbursement level. Pharmacy associations expressed strong concerns that the Department’s analyses of the cost data were highly flawed, excluding real pharmacy expenses and factoring in costs from large, out-of-state, mail-order operations, the associations said. In mid-March, the associations supported this claim with a report prepared by Josef Schmee, an independent statistician from Union University, that was reviewed and endorsed by faculty members from St. John Fisher College of Pharmacy and St. John’s University.

In a follow up, the National Association of Chain Drugs, who worked collaboratively with its state partners in New York on advocacy efforts, spoke with Mike Duteau, VP of business development and strategic relations for Kinney Drugs and president of the Chain Pharmacy Association of New York, about the victory and his role as a media spokesperson on the collaborative effort.

“Had this severely flawed Medicaid reimbursement model been implemented, the impact on pharmacy and our patients would have been catastrophic. Reimbursing pharmacies substantially below cost for prescriptions is not a sustainable business model. This could have resulted in greatly decreased patient access, loss of jobs for pharmacy employees and even pharmacy closures. As healthcare providers, we have an obligation to protect those patients we care for and the communities we serve,” Duteau told NACDS.

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