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NCPA signs onto ‘Team Up. Pressure Down.’ initiative to encourage patient-pharmacist consults

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday announced that it is participating in the "Team Up. Pressure Down." program to help hypertensive patients more effectively manage and control their high blood pressure — and ultimately prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
 
"Team Up. Pressure Down." is a new pharmacy-focused program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts initiative co-led by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The program offers time-saving resources — from video vignettes to conversation starters — that encourage and support pharmacists in providing counseling services to their hypertensive patients, with the goal of improving medication adherence (i.e., patients following their medication regimen as prescribed by a doctor). A suite of patient education materials will also be available through the program to help people with high blood pressure take a more active role in self-management efforts and to encourage increased interaction with their pharmacists.
 
"This is a great opportunity for pharmacists, and NCPA is proud to be a partner," stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "As one of the most accessible healthcare providers, pharmacists can play a significant role in the treatment and prevention of heart disease. Services — including blood pressure and lipid monitoring, smoking cessation programs and patient intervention and reminder systems — can play a vital role. Many community pharmacists already provide these services on a daily basis, and hopefully this campaign will spur greater awareness and utilization of them."
 
Recent research shows that pharmacist-directed care can improve the management of major cardiovascular risk factors — including hypertension — and has a positive impact on patient health outcomes. Nearly 1-in-3 adults has hypertension, and 36 million Americans do not have it under control. Taking hypertension medicines as prescribed can greatly reduce a patient’s risk for heart attack and stroke, yet 30% stop taking their medicines within six months, and 50% stop within one year.

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Hamacher Resource Group celebrates four employees, each with 25 years of service

BY Michael Johnsen

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Hamacher Resource Group on Wednesday honored four employees that are celebrating 25 years with the company this year: Cindy Eichstaedt, data entry assistant; Todd Marshall, network administrator; Kat Fronek, national account manager; and Steve Brester, information technology manager.

“We recognize how special it is to have employees reach this milestone with a company, and we are fortunate to have this depth of experience on our team,” stated Dawn Vogelsang, HRG president and leader of the owners group.

The four have been with the company almost as long as the 32 years that HRG has been in business, the company stated.

Fronek and Eichstaedt have worked in various roles in multiple departments since they started at the company, while Brester and Marshall’s roles have evolved as HRG’s IT department grew from a single mid-range computer to an extensive network, including numerous servers, desktop and remote users, as well as PC, Web and mid-range developers.

Brester and Fronek are part of the HRG owners group. The combined experience of the eight owners totals an impressive 173 years. “This kind of longevity and experience is a differentiator for HRG, as well as a competitive advantage in the health, beauty and wellness market space,” Vogelsang said. “It really is exceptional to have a management team so deeply ingrained in the industry, supported by associates who are equally passionate and committed to providing solutions.”
 


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Bayer, Onyx seek approval for gastrointestinal tumor drug

BY Alaric DeArment

WAYNE, N.J. — Bayer HealthCare and Onyx Pharmaceuticals are seeking approval for a new drug to treat tumors of the gut, the companies said.

Bayer and Onyx announced the submission to the Food and Drug Administration of an application seeking approval for regorafenib in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors, or GIST. Bayer developed the drug and formed a partnership with Onyx in 2011, whereby Onyx will receive a royalty on future global net sales of the drug in cancer-related indications. Both companies will promote the drug in the United States.

"The submission of regorafenib for the treatment of GIST marks an important milestone for Bayer, bringing us one step closer to potentially addressing a significant medical need for patients with this rare but aggressive disease," Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals VP and head of U.S. medical affairs Pamela Cyrus said. "With the development of regorafenib and other oncology compounds, we remain committed to discovering and advancing cancer therapies for patients who are in need of new treatment options."


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