PHARMACY

NACDS bid to ease MedGuide rules gains a key supporter in U.S. Senate

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. An appeal from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores to simplify the daunting patient-education prescription drug guidelines now imposed on community pharmacies has won support from a key member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Under rules imposed by the Food and Drug Administration in March, 240 prescription products now require Medication Guides, also known as MedGuides, to help patients understand their medications. NACDS has lobbied the Senate committee for a change in the rules, noting that the MedGuides are “difficult to obtain by pharmacists in an efficient manner,” and that requiring them on so many products could overwhelm patients.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a key member of the committee, responded by inserting language to simplify the MedGuide requirements into the official report that accompanies the Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2008.

“The FDA initially intended the program to produce MedGuides for a limited number of prescription products every year,” noted the committee in its report. “This unanticipated volume of Medguides creates significant administrative burdens for pharmacy providers and has the potential to diminish the usefulness of the program by overwhelming patients with multiple pages of written material.”

NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson praised Reed for having “brought to light flaws in the current MedGuides system. He called the move “an important step toward meaningful reform that will benefit patients, and the ability of community pharmacy to serve patients,” and pledged that NACDS would continue to push for a simpler MedGuide system.

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Pfizer appoints D’Amelio to COO position

BY Adam Kraemer

NEW YORK Pfizer announced that Frank D’Amelio, a senior executive with almost three decades of extensive operating and financial experience at AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Alcatel-Lucent, will become Pfizer’s senior vice president and chief financial officer effective mid-September.

D’Amelio, currently Senior Executive Vice President, Integration and chief administrative officer at Alcatel-Lucent, will join Pfizer’s Executive Leadership Team. He will have responsibility for all aspects of the company’s finances, including treasury, tax, the controller’s division and investor development. He succeeds Alan Levin, whose resignation from Pfizer was announced in May.

“We are very pleased that an executive with Frank’s skills, integrity, global experience and proven leadership is joining our management team,” said chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Kindler. “Through almost three decades at AT&T, Lucent and Alcatel-Lucent in both operating and financial roles, Frank was a senior executive in global companies undergoing the kind of rapid and complex changes we have undertaken at Pfizer in response to our own rapidly changing markets.”

“I am delighted to join Pfizer, a company with outstanding management, great people and what I truly believe is a very promising future in the forefront of medical innovation. In just a short period of time, Jeff has demonstrated strong leadership in setting a course for Pfizer to change the way it does business, so that it will be in the best possible position to take advantage of growing global demand for high-quality healthcare,” D’Amelio said. “Together with my finance colleagues, we’ll work hard to ensure that all aspects of Pfizer’s global financial strategy and operations help to advance these critical business imperatives.”

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Judge rules in favor of Roche on Ventana buyout

BY Drew Buono

PHOENIX Roche Holding moved closer yesterday to acquiring Ventana Medical Systems when a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction stopping Ventana from using parts of an Arizona anti-takeover law that was going to be used to fight off the buyout.

Roche is seeking to make the anti-takeover law declared unconstitutional. The law states that Roche, even if a controlling shareholder, would have to wait three years to take control of the company.

Roche did though extend its deadline for the offer to buy the medical testing devices maker until 5 p.m. Sept. 20. The disagreement with the two companies is money, as Roche wants to pay only $75 per share as compared to the $83.58 price that each share rose to yesterday, according to the Associated Press. Nearly a month ago, Ventana said in a statement to its shareholders that the “board of directors continues to believe that Roche’s bid is wholly inadequate and recommends that stockholders not tender any of their shares to Roche. Not only is the offer significantly below our current market price, it does not even come close to reflecting the intrinsic value of the company, its strong growth prospects in an accelerating market and the synergy value of Ventana to Roche.”

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