PHARMACY

NACDS RxImpact Day ‘astounding’ as pharmacy advocates conduct more than 350 congressional meetings

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill showcased the unsurpassed value of community pharmacy as pharmacy advocates from 41 states conducted more than 350 meetings with U.S. senators and representatives this week.

Community pharmacy advocates — including pharmacists, pharmacy students and other pharmacy supporters — met with 86% of members of Congress who serve on congressional committees with jurisdiction on healthcare issues.

Community pharmacy advocates wore white coats and bright blue stickers on their lapels stating, “Ask Me What Pharmacies Do!” — creating an important opportunity for lawmakers to further understand how community pharmacies help patients maintain and improve their health, and help drive down healthcare costs.

Advocates discussed a variety of issues with lawmakers, including urging them to write the Federal Trade Commission in opposition to the proposed pharmacy benefit manager mega-merger of Express Scripts and Medco.  Other issues included urging increased access to medication therapy management services, maintaining pharmacy choice and access in the Tricare program, addressing PBM issues in a way that improves patient care and ensuring fair and adequate pharmacy reimbursement in federal healthcare programs.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., offered remarks during an issue briefing held during the event, emphasizing his support for community pharmacy as sponsor of the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act (S. 1058).  Pryor also received the NACDS Congressional Leadership Award, in recognition of his commitment to pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policy.

Sen. John Tester, D-Mont., Reps. Mike Ross, D-Ark., and Lee Terry, R-Neb., submitted official comments to the Congressional Record in support of their constituents and community pharmacy in lead-up to NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill.

Pharmacy advocates who were unable to attend the NACDS event in person participated in the NACDS RxImpact Virtual Hill Day.  Demonstrating an overwhelming show of support for this week’s Hill event, the Virtual Hill Day program generated more than 2,000 communications to more than 270 members of Congress.

“The enthusiasm for this year’s NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill was astounding,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson saod. “This annual event — now in its fourth year — built on the fantastic progress of the three great fly-in events that preceded it. The overwhelming support by pharmacy advocates — both in person in Washington, D.C., and via electronic communications from across the country — demonstrated the focus and urgency of telling the story of community pharmacy to lawmakers, and drawing important distinctions on key pro-patient, pro-pharmacy issues.”


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VCU School of Pharmacy receives 2012 NACDS RxImpact ‘U’ Advocacy Award

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced the recipients of the NACDS RxImpact “U” Advocacy Award during the fourth annual NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill this week.

The annual award is presented to pharmacy school students and pharmacy school campuses in recognition of their active engagement in pro-patient and pro-pharmacy grassroots advocacy.

For the 2012 award, NACDS selected Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Pharmacy in Richmond, Va., led by students Catherine Floroff, Bradford McDaniel and Natalie Nguyen, along with faculty adviser Dr. Gary Matzke. According to NACDS, the students demonstrated leadership in creating a student policy and advocacy forum, where students learned the process of advocating for pharmacy by engaging on the legislation affecting the profession.

More than 60 students and nine faculty members have been engaged in pharmacy advocacy through this VCU forum, which also served as a platform to organize student participation in Virginia Pharmacists Association’s Legislative Day in Virginia’s state capital. During this year’s legislative day, the students educated lawmakers on the valuable role of pharmacy in emerging models of care. In addition, VCU pharmacy students provided health screenings to the legislators and their staff during the annual legislative event.

In recognition of their efforts, VCU will be presented a $2,500 stipend to fund future student advocacy initiatives.

The NACDS RxImpact “U” Advocacy Award program is one element of the larger NACDS RxImpact “U” initiative, which is committed to engaging pharmacy school students and faculty in the policy-making process.

“NACDS RxImpact ‘U’ was developed to engage the next generation of pharmacy — pharmacy school students – in grassroots advocacy,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “Catherine, Bradford and Natalie have demonstrated leadership and commitment in showcasing the unsurpassed value of community pharmacy in improving patient health.  Their efforts exemplify what we hope other advocates participating in NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill will implement at their schools. I congratulate them and Virginia Commonwealth University.”


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Teva launches generic Lexapro, awarded 180-day exclusivity

BY DSN STAFF

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced on March 14 that it has commenced commercial launch of escitalopram oxalate tablets, the company’s generic version of Forest Laboratories’ depression and generalized anxiety disorder treatment Lexapro tablets.

The branded product had annual sales of approximately $2.9 billion in the United States, based on IMS sales data. As the first company to file an abbreviated new drug application containing a paragraph IV certification for this product, Teva has been awarded a 180-day period of marketing exclusivity.

"These psychiatric conditions can be disabling and prevent a person from doing everyday activities," FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock said. "This medication is widely used by people who must manage their condition over time, so it is important to have affordable treatment options."

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