PHARMACY

NACDS honors Tom Ryan, Mary Sammons with lifetime achievement awards

BY Antoinette Alexander

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On the final evening of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, the association for the first time honored two individuals in the same year with the Sheldon W. Fantle Lifetime Achievement Award: Mary Sammons, chairman of Rite Aid, and Tom Ryan, chairman of CVS Caremark.

Sammons joined Rite Aid in 1999 as president and COO, and subsequently served as CEO until 2010. She continues to serve as chairman of the board for the company. Previously, Sammons held several senior level positions with Fred Meyer Stores and became president and CEO of the company in 1998. She served as NACDS chairman from 2003 to 2005, and continues to serve on the NACDS board of directors.

Ryan started as a CVS pharmacist in 1974. His passion for business and his strategic leadership style propelled him into several senior level capacities with the company. In 1998, Ryan became president and CEO of CVS, positions he held until 2010. Subsequently, he also became chairman in 1999, a position he currently holds. Ryan served as NACDS chairman from 1997 to 1998, and continues to serve on the NACDS board of directors.

"Both Mary and Tom have demonstrated incredible leadership in guiding their respective companies for nearly four decades," said Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark and past chairman of the NACDS board of directors. "We applaud and honor them tonight with this award, and express our gratitude for their outstanding contributions to pharmacy."

The lifetime achievement award was established in 1989 to recognize exceptional accomplishments and contributions to the industry. It was renamed in 1996 in honor of the late Sheldon "Bud" Fantle of People’s Drug Stores.

"Bud was a personal friend and mentor, and I know he would appreciate the contributions of tonight’s honorees," Merlo added.

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PHARMACY

Report: Novartis to boost biosimilars portfolio

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Novartis is making big investments in biosimilars, CEO Joe Jimenez said in an interview with Fortune magazine.

Jimenez told Fortune that the Swiss drug maker — which markets generics and biosimilars through its Sandoz division — was investing heavily in biosimilars and difficult-to-make generics for such conditions as cancer and respiratory disorders.

Sandoz makes biosimilars for markets worldwide, and also was the first to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market a generic version of Sanofi-Aventis’ blood thinner Lovenox (enoxaparin sodium); the FDA approved Lovenox as a pharmaceutical, but the drug’s chemical complexity means it has more in common with biotech drugs than with traditional pharmaceuticals.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which became law last year, contained a provision that created a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars in the United States.

Jimenez also said that rather than focusing on creating blockbuster drugs for such conditions as hypertension, Novartis was focusing on creating drugs that disrupted disease pathways and could have multiple indications.

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NACDS Foundation grants $320K in pharmacy school scholarships

BY Allison Cerra

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The charitable arm of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores awarded $320,000 in scholarships through its 2011 Pharmacy Partners Scholarship Program.

The NACDS Foundation said its scholarship program provides awards ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 to each pharmacy school’s scholarship fund to assist pharmacy students working to achieve their professional doctorate degree in pharmacy. This year, the NACDS Foundation provided scholarship assistance to each of the 124 accredited pharmacy schools and colleges in the nation.

The seven largest scholarships were awarded as follows:

  • $20,000 Apotex Corp. Wayne Roberts Memorial Scholarship awarded to Concordia University School of Pharmacy;

  • $12,500 Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Scholarship awarded to University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences;

  • $10,000 Abbott Pharmaceutical Products Division Scholarship awarded to Husson University School of Pharmacy;

  • $10,000 NACDS Foundation Scholarship awarded to Creighton University Medical Center School of Pharmacy and Health Professions;

  • $7,500 NACDS Foundation Scholarship awarded to Long Island University Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences;

  • $7,500 NACDS Foundation Scholarship awarded to Harding University College of Pharmacy; and

  • $7,500 NACDS Foundation Scholarship awarded to College of Notre Dame of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

“Due to the overwhelming support of our benefactors, the NACDS Foundation has had the distinct honor of providing nearly $3 million in scholarships since the program’s inception in 1997,” said NACDS Foundation president Edith Rosato. “This staggering amount is quite a testament to the commitment to education on the part of the pharmacy and pharmaceutical industries. Their generosity reflects a passion for the next generation of pharmacy — pharmacy students.”

To see photos from the event, click here.

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