HEALTH

Nearly $3 million for TB research awarded under FDA’s Critical Path Initiative

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has awarded almost $3 million for tuberculosis research, the agency said Monday.

The FDA said it awarded $2.9 million to six research products to help with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of TB under its Critical Path Initiative. The disease has seen increasing prevalence around the world, and two recent articles by the agency’s Office of Critical Path programs noted that advances are needed to shorten therapy and treat drug-resistant forms of the disease.

The Critical Path Initiative was created in 2004 to drive innovation in the development, evaluation and manufacturing of medical products.

“FDA recognized an urgent need for the engagement and leadership of public health institutions to promote this critical, but neglected, area of medical therapeutics,” FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said.

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CVS Caremark salutes pharmacists

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. October is American Pharmacists Month, and CVS Caremark has announced that it is recognizing its 26,000 pharmacists who provide care to their patients in its retail pharmacies, mail-service pharmacies and specialty pharmacies across the country.

“Whether they are providing flu shots in our 7,100 stores, counseling patients in person or on the phone, or explaining a new specialty drug therapy to a patient, our pharmacists are delivering best-in-class care to their patients every day,” stated Larry Merlo, president and COO of CVS Caremark. “Pharmacy care remains the most cost-effective method of treatment in the healthcare industry, as proper adherence to prescriptions can prevent more expensive outcomes, such as hospitalization or long-term complications from chronic disease. By helping patients stay adherent to their medication therapies, pharmacists play a critical role in lowering overall healthcare costs while improving their patients’ health and well-being,” he added.

CVS Caremark will publicly recognize its pharmacists during October with ads in industry trade publications and on its in-store radio network. The company also will celebrate National Pharmacy Technician Day on Oct. 26 in recognition of the role its 50,000 technicians play in supporting CVS Caremark pharmacists and serving their patients.

In related news, Walgreens also expressed its support for its 27,000 pharmacists in recognition of American Pharmacists Month. The chain addressed its one-on-one patient consultations and expanding immunization programs, as well as its community education programs. Each year since 2008, Walgreens has donated more than $1 million to support initiatives dedicated to promoting diversity at all accredited pharmacy schools nationwide. Through these donations, students get an opportunity to apply their education by better understanding and serving different communities and needs.

“Pharmacists are some of the most trusted healthcare professionals in the nation,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. “With our extensive network of more than 7,500 pharmacies in communities coast to coast, we strive to make sure patients are armed with the knowledge to get the best possible outcomes from their medication. Our pharmacies are staffed with some of the most talented professionals in the industry. They are truly dedicated to providing high-quality pharmacy service, and I’m proud of the support and guidance they offer to millions of patients every day.”

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University of Maryland’s pharmacy school to open new building

BY Allison Cerra

BALTIMORE The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s new pharmacy hall building officially will open Oct. 5, the college said.

The pharmacy school’s Pharmacy Hall is outfitted with $20 million in scientific and information technology equipment. The building features two 200-seat lecture halls, 80-seat and 76-seat lecture halls, and classrooms and seminar rooms, all equipped for distance learning. It also features a new patient interaction suite that accommodates 48 students to practice patient counseling. The building also includes a dispensing laboratory with state-of-the-art robotics and four floors of open research labs where faculty will work to discover new, novel and improved therapeutics.

The building cost $62 million and was constructed over a 22-month period.

Founded in 1841, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is the fourth oldest school of pharmacy in the nation.

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