PHARMACY

Stedman Graham to speak at universities as part of CVS Caremark program

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has sponsored author, educator and entrepreneur Stedman Graham to speak Thursday at Kent State University and Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy as part of its commitment to increase diversity in the pharmacy profession, and to help inspire high school students to pursue healthcare careers.

Graham is serving as the keynote speaker at NEOUCOM’s sixth annual Diversity Leadership and Awards Celebration, an event that supports diversity scholarships and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing and improving diversity within the school’s Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy and Health Professions.

CVS Caremark and NEOUCOM are holding a special event at Kent State University for more than 400 northeast Ohio high school students interested in pursuing a career in health care. At this event, Graham will discuss the importance of higher education, setting goals and overcoming adversity. Drawing from his book Diversity: Leaders not Labels, Graham will discuss how students can develop an identity and sense of self.

CVS Caremark has sponsored Graham’s youth workshops nationwide since 2006 to help motivate high school students from diverse backgrounds to discover career paths, set high goals and achieve them.

In addition working with Graham, CVS Caremark has partnered with America’s Promise Alliance since 2000 to offer Pathways to Pharmacy, a paid summer internship program, to increase access and diversity in pharmacy careers across the nation. So far the program has reached high school students in more than 40 cities.

“Our goal is to work with young people and to help them take a first step toward a pharmacy career,” stated Stephen Wing, director of Workforce Initiatives at CVS Caremark. “Given the growing demand for pharmacy services nationwide, CVS Caremark is taking a proactive step to help educate the next generation of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians through its Pathways program.”

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Abbott to boost business with Facet acquisition

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott will acquire Facet Biotech for $450 million, the drug maker announced Wednesday.

Abbott said the $27-per-share deal to buy the Redwood City, Calif.-based Facet would bolster its pipeline with treatments for autoimmune disorders and cancer in early- to mid-stage development. Facet plans to begin phase 3 trials of the multiple sclerosis treatment daclizumab, which it is developing with Biogen Idec, later this year. It also has several treatments for multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in phase 1 and phase 2 trials.

“We believe this transaction provides full and fair value for our stockholders and validates the potential of Facet’s clinical and technology assets, all of which has resulted from the effort and dedication of our employees,” Facet president and CEO Faheem Hasnain said in a statement. “Abbott’s depth of expertise in immunology and oncology makes it an excellent organization to maximize the full potential of these promising clinical programs and technologies.”

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Pharmacy leaders flock to Capitol for second NACDS RxIMPACT Day

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and its members are staging a two-day, full-court press on Capitol Hill Wednesday and Thursday as they take their case for pharmacy’s critical role in a revamped healthcare system directly to Congress.

The Second Annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day has brought 250 pharmacy leaders to the nation’s capitol for an intense lobbying effort with members of Congress. The goal, noted NACDS: to deliver “a powerful message about the link between pharmacy services and the cost savings and health improvements that result when patients take their medications as prescribed.”

A dramatic jump in the number of attendees has fueled momentum for the event. The number of attendees representing community pharmacy is up 67% from last year, NACDS reports, with a 33% increase in the number of states represented [36, compared with 27 states in 2009]. A total of 25 state pharmacy associations are also represented at this year’s RxIMPACT Day, compared with 10 last year and the number of pharmacy school representatives descending on Capitol Hill has grown from just two in 2009 to 16 this year.

“Last year, NACDS made a strong statement with this event that pharmacy is committed to telling its story as the face of neighborhood health care, and that pharmacy is determined to do what it takes to deserve victories in the public policy arena,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “The success stories of those who pioneered the event in 2009, combined with additional victories for the NACDS pro-patient, pro-pharmacy agenda, have generated tremendous enthusiasm for this program in 2010.”

Participants in the event are reminding congressional representatives of “pharmacy’s ability to help reduce the estimated $290 billion in annual costs that result from failure to take medications as prescribed,” according to the organization. Pharmacy advocates are urging also lawmakers to support policies that advance and standardize pharmacists’ delivery of medication therapy management services to patients – and establish compensation standards for those services.

Also on the lobbying wish list: a legislative remedy to the Medicaid average manufacturer price [AMP] model for prescription payments, which pharmacists have long argued would force some pharmacies out of business or at least out of the business of serving Medicaid patients, thus jeopardizing patients’ access to pharmacies. Pharmacy representatives also are urging lawmakers to overturn policies and proposals that stymie their ability to sell vaccines and durable medical equipment such as diabetes testing supplies at neighborhood pharmacies.

The RxIMPACT event concludes March 11. In addition to the efforts of those participating in person, NACDS is conducting a “Virtual Hill Day” through which pharmacy advocates are contacting their elected officials via e-mail and mail.

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