PHARMACY

PharmaSmart appoints Ashton Maaraba as COO

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — PharmaSmart International has promoted Ashton Maaraba to the newly created position of COO, the blood-pressure monitor manufacturer said.

Maaraba, who has worked for PharmaSmart since 2008, will be responsible for global operations, sales, marketing, production, customer service and corporate development.

"Under Ashton’s leadership, PharmaSmart successfully transitioned itself into a premiere disease state management and health IT company," PharmaSmart president Fred Sarkis said. "Ashton has a strong focus on delivering client value, workflow efficiency, and ensuring all program aspects align with client priorities."

The company also announced the appointment of Dave Fong as strategic adviser for pharmacy services.

"The addition of Dave Fong provides PharmaSmart added depth and experience to our pharmacy services team," Maaraba said. "Dave understands the complexities of today’s pharmacy, which must balance MTM growth objectives with the realities of pharmacy workflow constraints."


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PHARMACY

Mobile app searches for safe drug disposal sites

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — An organization that promotes efforts to stop prescription drug abuse announced Tuesday the release of a mobile app that directs users to places where they can safely get rid of unwanted and unused medications.

The American Medicine Chest Challenge said the AMCC Rx Drop app, sponsored by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, links to the AMCC’s directory of local, county and state law enforcement-sponsored permanent collection sites around the country. The app is available for Apple and Android devices.

"Having 24-hour access in the palm of your hand to locations of permanent sites will help parents and grandparents protect their families by safely disposing of their medicine," AMCC CEO Angelo Valente said.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, 70% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers obtained them from friends or relatives, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that prescription drug abuse causes one death every 19 minutes in the United States.

"GPhA has been a longtime supporter of the AMCC, and this new app will provide an important new tool to help us achieve our shared goal of ensuring that medications made to improve the quality of lives are not abused," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "The generic pharmaceutical is committed to working with all stakeholders to put a stop to the problem of prescription drug diversion in the United States and help make certain that caregivers and family members are not alone in this fight."


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PHARMACY

Reports: Court upholds Abilify patent

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A generic version of a schizophrenia drug made by Otsuka Holdings and Bristol-Myers Squibb can’t be launched until April 2015, according to published reports.

Bloomberg reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the validity of patents covering Abilify (aripiprazole) in the two companies’ lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Apotex.

According to IMS Health, Abilify was the fourth top-selling drug in the United States in 2011, with sales of $5.2 billion.


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