PHARMACY

New Kirby Lester advisory panel offers input on technology development

BY Drew Buono

LAKE FOREST, Ill. Kirby Lester, the largest producer of automatic tablet/capsule counters in the United States, has assembled a new advisory panel of pharmacy leaders to help it understand and satisfy the needs of the pharmacy profession. These four market leaders represent a broad range of the retail community pharmacy market, and provide Kirby Lester with a tremendous amount of experience, insight and creativity.

The members are: Christopher Dimos, president of pharmacy operations at Supervalu; John Fegan, senior vice president of pharmacy at Ahold; Mark Gregory, vice president of pharmacy and government relations for Kerr Drug; and Mike Podgurski, vice president of pharmacy services at Rite Aid.

The company will look to their expertise in such areas as new product development, new market opportunities, current product enhancement and company stewardship in the pharmacy industry. Future input will also be sought, the company said, on topics such as medication therapy management and technology investment.

The advisory panel’s expertise already has been applied to the development of Kirby Lester’s new product offerings, which are specifically targeted for the retail pharmacy market to improve efficiency, accuracy, productivity and ease of integration. This new product line—available in 2008—will represent a cost-effective and easy-to-use dispensing method that Kirby Lester states does not currently exist in pharmacy automation.

 “This group consists of some of the most recognized and respected names in community pharmacy,” said Christopher Thomsen, Kirby Lester’s vice president of business development. “This is also a group of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the advancement of the profession and truly understand how automation and technology can and will be utilized to improve and move pharmacy forward.”

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PHARMACY

Orphan drug application process to ease in U.S., Europe

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON & LONDON The Food and Drug Administration, European Commission and European Medicines Agency have decided to ease the application process for orphan drugs, drugs that are necessary but would be expensive and unprofitable to develop, in a move aimed at increasing the development of treatments for rare diseases, according to Reuters.

The agencies have adopted a common application, which would allow drug companies to apply to both regions at the same time with one application.

Rare diseases are defined as those affecting fewer than five in 10,000 people in the European Union and fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. About 30 million people in the European Union and about 25 million Americans suffer from more than 6,000 rare diseases.

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India’s drug makers move beyond generics

BY Drew Buono

NEW DELHI, India

India’s big pharmaceutical companies are moving from generic drug manufacturing to introducing their own originally researched drug molecules, which are expected to hit the market by 2010-11, according to published reports.

Among the companies involved in research and development of the new molecules are Ranbaxy, Glenmark and Dr. Reddy’s. Altogether about 10 to 12 companies have molecules under various stages of development.

Research and development investments now account for as much as 7 percent to 9 percent of sales. For example, Ranbaxy invested $80 million in research and development in 2006-07; this year that number has gone up to $100 million.

The key for these companies will be to partner with more experienced pharmaceutical manufacturers to help conduct more original research and development on new drugs.

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