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Special domain for legitimate pharmacies could go long way toward ensuring safety of supply chain

BY Alaric DeArment

Efforts to create a generic top-level domain for legitimate pharmacy websites gained traction last week when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN — the body that controls what goes into Internet URLs — gave the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy a passing grade for an initial evaluation of its plans for the domain ".pharmacy."

If successful, the .pharmacy domain will create a powerful new weapon to combat the rise of illegal online pharmacies, which according to many studies, constitute all but 3% of the websites selling drugs on the Internet. These are the "Canadian" pharmacies selling cheap drugs that one often sees links to on search engines and other websites; despite their supposed provenance, they’re usually based in countries where regulations are lax or unenforced.

Tackling the problem of illegal Internet pharmacies would go a long way toward securing the country’s pharmaceutical supply chain and keeping adulterated, counterfeit and contaminated drugs out of the United States and, more importantly, out of the hands of unsuspecting patients who may be searching for bargains, but don’t realize they’re tempting fate. This could be far more effective – and much simpler – than requiring pharmacies, especially independents with limited resources, to implement track-and-trace technology. Brick-and-mortar pharmacies typically buy their drugs only from trusted sources in order to limit the risk of counterfeits, stolen drugs or diversion.

In April, the Food and Drug Administration took a step toward this goal by creating BeSafeRx, a page on its website that helps users distinguish between legitimate pharmacies and fake ones, warning users, "If you cannot confirm that an online pharmacy is licensed in the United States, you should not use that online pharmacy."

Drugs can be expensive, and the copays for them – to say nothing of shouldering the entire cost – can put patients deeply in debt. On Saturday, for example, The New York Times profiled several aging HIV patients, one of whom had racked up $40,000 in credit card debt from drugs and didn’t know if his cards would continue to go through. The high cost of some drugs is a major reason why many patients turn to illegal pharmacies, but the cost they may incur as a result could be far higher, including prices not measurable in dollars. For that reason, it’s important that the industry ensures they are getting their medicines from sources they can trust.

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Target’s expansion of Beauty Concierge program reflects larger trend within beauty

BY Antoinette Alexander

Target has announced that it is expanding its Beauty Concierge program with approximately 200 stores implementing the program during 2013.

This is important as it reflects a larger trend that is taking place within mass-market beauty — retailers are becoming increasingly aggressive in elevating the beauty shopping experience at mass. With a melding of upscale décor, higher-end beauty brands, in-store services and innovative technology, they are working to become a beauty destination for savvy shoppers.

Such efforts are important as competition from specialty retailers and online retailing only becomes increasingly intense.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, Walgreens has an army of 26,000-plus beauty advisors across its store network. The beauty advisors are especially front and center in the retailer’s Look Boutiques. These upscale beauty departments not only feature prestige and niche beauty brands, but also offer such in-store beauty services as manicures and brow shaping.

And CVS/pharmacy also has some beauty advisors in its store locations nationwide.

There’s also Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, which has its Natural Beauty Bar in Los Angeles that offers such services as brow waxing and threading, as well as makeup and lash applications.

Clearly, mass-market retailers are stepping up their efforts in beauty, which makes this latest news from Target timely and important. It should also be noted that Target is no stranger to beefing up its beauty departments, as it has seen success with such exclusive offerings as Sonia Kashuk and Petra Strand.

 

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Dr. Reddy’s, Fujifilm end Japan generics deal

BY Alaric DeArment

HYDERABAD, India — Dr. Reddy’s Labs and Fujifilm have terminated a deal to market generic drugs in Japan, Dr. Reddy’s said Monday.

The two had signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2011 to establish a joint venture for developing and manufacturing generics in Japan. The ending of the deal was the result of Fujifilm changing its long-term strategy for the drug business, but Dr. Reddy’s said they would continue looking into opportunities for partnerships and alliances in other drug businesses.

"Unfortunately, we will not be able to partner with Fujifilm specifically for generic formulations business in Japan," Dr. Reddy’s chairman and CEO G.V. Prasad said. "However, I want to reinforce our commitment towards a planned entry into Japan to bring affordable and innovative drugs to more patients worldwide."


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