PHARMACY

Pharmacist shortage in mind, NACDS backs graduation bill

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A new move in Congress to improve educational opportunities in underperforming schools has drawn the support of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson voiced support for the Graduation Promise Act in a letter to Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., respectively the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The new bill calls for a state-led, comprehensive system for improving high schools and making them more accountable for performance standards.

To do so, the legislation would mandate a partnership among federal, state and local agencies to identify low-performing high schools and provide them with the resources to graduate students with skills for the workforce of tomorrow.

“This legislation would benefit the community pharmacy industry led by NACDS,” Anderson told Kennedy and Enzi. “Pharmacists are among the most highly regarded professionals, and still, 15 percent of Americans live in states where it is difficult to fill open positions for pharmacists.

“By strengthening our education system and preparing high school students for the workforce, the Graduation Promise Act will help the community pharmacy industry be better equipped to continue serving our communities,” Anderson wrote.

NACDS is urging the committee leaders to include the legislation in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act now under consideration.

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BMS to acquire biologics developer for $430 million

BY Drew Buono

PRINCETON, N.J. Bristol-Myers Squibb has signed an agreement with Adnexus Therapeutics, under which BMS will acquire Adnexus, a developer of a new therapeutic class of biologics called Adnectins.

Under the agreement, Adnexus will become a subsidiary of BMS and advance BMS’ biologics, with its Phase I oncology biologic, Angiocept.  BMS will acquire all of Adnexus’ issued and outstanding shares of stock for $430 million.  There also is another $75 million that could be paid to Adnexus, in three separate payments, depending on development and regulatory milestones.

“Bringing Adnexus into the Bristol-Myers Squibb family builds upon a successful and productive collaboration between the two companies in oncology and is an important step in accelerating the strategic transformation of our pharmaceutical business to a biopharma business model,” said Jim Cornelius, chief executive officer of BMS.

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Building new bridges to e-prescribing, SureScripts turns to vendors for advice

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. SureScripts, the pharmacy-sanctioned electronic prescription platform provider, revealed today the formation of a 10-member advisory group charged with spurring the nationwide adoption of e-prescribing.

Composed of technology and electronic communications experts, the Prescriber Vendor Advisory Council will work with SureScripts on programs to boost the use of e-prescribing by U.S. physicians, the company said in a statement. “As part of its mission, the council will provide insight on key variables that are known to impact a physician’s decision to begin e-prescribing and their level of satisfaction once they start,” explained SureScripts spokesman Rob Cronin.

Members of the council are experts in the design and application of information technology used by physicians, according to the company. The group will convene this week, and will focus on such areas as technology design and programs to support the adoption by doctors of e-prescribing software. Together with SureScripts, the new advisory council will explore such topics as “how changes in electronic prescribing technology and making fuller use of pharmacy interoperability can improve the … workflow by professionals in the physician’s office and behind the pharmacy counter,” Cronin noted.

“Even the most compelling of new technologies will invariably face obstacles that slow adoption, and this has never been more true than in health care,” said Rick Ratliff, the company’s chief operating officer. “SureScripts will work with its Prescriber Vendor Advisory Council to identify and address these obstacles.”

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