PHARMACY

NACDS recognizes two pharmacy students for pharmacy advocacy efforts

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The National Association of Chain Drug Stores bestowed an award on two pharmacy students for their work in advancing the pharmacy profession and industry.

Andrew Helm of Washington State University and Brent Leithauser of the University of Washington each received the 2010 Pharmacy Student Advocacy Award as part of the annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill. Helm and Leithauser were awarded for organizing the Washington State Legislative Advocacy Day, where 141 student pharmacists and 20 pharmacists and faculty members converged on Olympia, Washington, to meet with state legislators and government administrators on pharmacy’s priorities. Helm and Leithauser built coalitions and alliances, coordinated the day’s activities, which included health screenings, and followed-up with legislators to remind them of discussions and commitments.

“NACDS has been actively engaging schools of pharmacy and pharmacy students in an all-out effort to raise up the next generation of pharmacy advocates,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “The NACDS Student Advocacy Award is just one positive outcome of our efforts to date as we work to recognize and inspire tomorrow’s pharmacy leaders.”

Along with the Helm and Leithauser, NACDS also recognized other pharmacy student advocates, including James Chai Wang of the University of Maryland, and Lauren Long and Alyssa Vaysman of Temple University. The aforementioned students participated in NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill.

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PHARMACY

Abbott to boost business with Facet acquisition

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott will acquire Facet Biotech for $450 million, the drug maker announced Wednesday.

Abbott said the $27-per-share deal to buy the Redwood City, Calif.-based Facet would bolster its pipeline with treatments for autoimmune disorders and cancer in early- to mid-stage development. Facet plans to begin phase 3 trials of the multiple sclerosis treatment daclizumab, which it is developing with Biogen Idec, later this year. It also has several treatments for multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in phase 1 and phase 2 trials.

“We believe this transaction provides full and fair value for our stockholders and validates the potential of Facet’s clinical and technology assets, all of which has resulted from the effort and dedication of our employees,” Facet president and CEO Faheem Hasnain said in a statement. “Abbott’s depth of expertise in immunology and oncology makes it an excellent organization to maximize the full potential of these promising clinical programs and technologies.”

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Pharmacy leaders flock to Capitol for second NACDS RxIMPACT Day

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and its members are staging a two-day, full-court press on Capitol Hill Wednesday and Thursday as they take their case for pharmacy’s critical role in a revamped healthcare system directly to Congress.

The Second Annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day has brought 250 pharmacy leaders to the nation’s capitol for an intense lobbying effort with members of Congress. The goal, noted NACDS: to deliver “a powerful message about the link between pharmacy services and the cost savings and health improvements that result when patients take their medications as prescribed.”

A dramatic jump in the number of attendees has fueled momentum for the event. The number of attendees representing community pharmacy is up 67% from last year, NACDS reports, with a 33% increase in the number of states represented [36, compared with 27 states in 2009]. A total of 25 state pharmacy associations are also represented at this year’s RxIMPACT Day, compared with 10 last year and the number of pharmacy school representatives descending on Capitol Hill has grown from just two in 2009 to 16 this year.

“Last year, NACDS made a strong statement with this event that pharmacy is committed to telling its story as the face of neighborhood health care, and that pharmacy is determined to do what it takes to deserve victories in the public policy arena,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “The success stories of those who pioneered the event in 2009, combined with additional victories for the NACDS pro-patient, pro-pharmacy agenda, have generated tremendous enthusiasm for this program in 2010.”

Participants in the event are reminding congressional representatives of “pharmacy’s ability to help reduce the estimated $290 billion in annual costs that result from failure to take medications as prescribed,” according to the organization. Pharmacy advocates are urging also lawmakers to support policies that advance and standardize pharmacists’ delivery of medication therapy management services to patients – and establish compensation standards for those services.

Also on the lobbying wish list: a legislative remedy to the Medicaid average manufacturer price [AMP] model for prescription payments, which pharmacists have long argued would force some pharmacies out of business or at least out of the business of serving Medicaid patients, thus jeopardizing patients’ access to pharmacies. Pharmacy representatives also are urging lawmakers to overturn policies and proposals that stymie their ability to sell vaccines and durable medical equipment such as diabetes testing supplies at neighborhood pharmacies.

The RxIMPACT event concludes March 11. In addition to the efforts of those participating in person, NACDS is conducting a “Virtual Hill Day” through which pharmacy advocates are contacting their elected officials via e-mail and mail.

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