PHARMACY

NACDS conference addresses advancing the value of pharmacy

BY Allison Cerra

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. An organization catering to the drug retailing industry hosted a conference that emphasized unity of small-to-medium sized retailers through common goals.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Regional Chain Conference, held for its 29th year, is specifically geared for retailers that operate up to 250 chain drug stores. These businesses provide a unique setting for retailers, manufacturers and suppliers to network and conduct business, NACDS said. Various business and education sessions were provided throughout the conference, which focused on pharmacy and front-end issues and trends, including healthcare reform, operational issues, social media and economic forecasts.

As part of these sessions, NACDS chairman Andy Giancamilli, Snyders Drug Stores CEO and CEO of Katz Group Canada, provided remarks highlighting what he has observed as chairman. Giancamilli stressed the member-driven nature of NACDS, the need to unite to confront common public policy goals, and increased involvement of NACDS members in political activism.

“I see a truly diverse and member-driven trade association that derives ever-increasing strength from common purpose,” said Giancamilli highlighting the shared goals and strengths of NACDS’ diverse membership. “There is more that unites us than divides us,” he said, highlighting the common goal of reforming Medicaid’s average manufacturer price pharmacy reimbursement model and advancing medication therapy management.

Proceeding Giancamilli, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson, described NACDS’ cultural transformation to better serve its member companies in the areas of government advocacy, pro-pharmacy communications, member programs and meetings.

“We have resolved that pharmacy will not just talk about medication adherence, but own this issue, and proclaim that lives can be improved and saved, and costs can be reduced, by helping people take the right medications in the right ways… Our evolution in government affairs involves this simple realization: Getting wins is what matters,” Anderson said.

NACDS also announced that its 2011 Regional Chain Conference is scheduled for Feb. 6 -9, 2011, in Naples, Fla. Additional information on NACDS meetings is available at: www.NACDS.org.

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Artificial pancreas may benefit young Type 1 diabetes patients

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON Sleeping overnight with an artificial pancreas system benefits children and teenagers with Type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in the Feb. 5 issue of The Lancet.

The study, funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge in England, had participants aged 5 to 18 spend the night in a hospital using a combination of commercially available blood glucose sensors and insulin pumps controlled by a computer program that determined insulin dosage based on blood glucose levels.

The study found that the patients had targeted blood glucose levels for twice as long when they used the artificial pancreas system than when they used conventional therapy.

“These studies show that automated systems not only can help people manage diabetes by maintaining good control, they will also improve quality of life for the people with Type 1 diabetes and their families by lowering the risk of hypoglycemia,” University of Cambridge Institute of Metabolic Science researcher and lead study author Roman Hovorka said. “These results suggest that closed-loop devices may be able to significantly lower the patient’s risk of developing complications later in life by reducing or even overcoming the burden of hypoglycemia.”

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FDA issues warning over safety of Tysabri use

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Patients using a drug for treating multiple sclerosis may be at increased risk of developing a deadly brain infection, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday in a warning to healthcare professionals and patients.

The FDA said that 31 patients using the drug Tysabri (natalizumab), marketed by Elan Corp. and Biogen Idec, had developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, as of Jan. 21. The drug’s safety labeling has been updated to reflect the risk. Still, the agency said the benefits of the drug outweigh the potential risks.

PML is caused by the JC virus, a virus that occurs naturally in most adults but is kept in check by the body’s immune system. When the immune system becomes compromised due to diseases such as AIDS or the use of immune-suppressing drugs, the risk that the virus will multiply and cause irreversible and fatal damage to the brain increases.

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