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Walgreens to fund clinical pharmacist training center at University of Maryland

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE — Walgreens gifted $350,000 to the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. The gift will name the Walgreens Objective Structured Clinical Examination Suite at the School, a 10-room, state-of-the-art facility designed to provide an experience that demonstrates the pharmacist’s expanding role in direct patient care and medication therapy management, the University announced Monday.
 
“The School of Pharmacy strives to promote effective and innovative pharmacy practice models that have a positive impact on patient outcomes,” stated Natalie Eddington, dean and professor of the school and executive director of University regional partnerships. “Our OSCE suite is outfitted with the latest technologies to provide practice experiences that expose students and community pharmacists alike to real world clinical situations. This generous gift signifies Walgreens’ belief in the value that this unique facility has in preparing current and future pharmacists with the knowledge and skills necessary to work collaboratively and at the top of their licensure in an interprofessional health care environment.”
 
Jon Reitz, market pharmacy director for Walgreens, and Steve Bouyoukas, Baltimore pharmacy supervisor for Walgreens, visited the school on June 19 to present the gift, which will ensure that the innovative transitional development and training programs available through the OSCE suite continue to advance clinical education for future students and community pharmacists.
 
“We're proud to have the Walgreens name on this great facility, as a reflection of the company’s commitment to advancing the role of community pharmacy, and supporting pharmacists who will have a positive impact on the future of the profession,” Reitz said. “It enables the kind of education and training that can truly prepare pharmacists for entering the workforce, as today, pharmacists are playing an increasingly important role in health care, providing a broader scope of services and working collaboratively with other providers in the community.”
 
“The changing role of the pharmacist requires a unique skillset that promotes successful pharmacist-patient interaction,” added Katie Kiser, assistant professor in PPS who oversees education and administrative responsibilities for the facility. “The OSCE suite is designed to train and, at the same time, assess the ability of participants to reflect on their experiences with patients and receive feedback. Through our collaborative relationship with Walgreens, we hope to establish a positive feedback loop between lessons in the classroom and lessons in a real world pharmacy setting. The feedback that we receive will not only influence student training, but also help strengthen curriculum development, ensuring that our students receive the highest quality education to prepare them to meet the evolving needs of one of the most dynamic health care professions.”
 
An official naming ceremony for the Walgreens OSCE Suite will be held in Fall 2014.

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CRN launches web-based, members-only tool to help VMS marketers make responsible advertising claims

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Advertising claims for weight loss supplement products feed the Federal Trade Commission with the highest settlement costs within the dietary supplement and functional food category, according to a new web-based, members-only tool from the Council for Responsible Nutrition. The new online tool, released Tuesday, is a compilation of all available FTC advertising enforcement actions related to dietary supplements and functional foods since 2003, and will be updated quarterly. 
 
According to CRN president and CEO Steve Mister, who testified earlier this year at a Capitol Hill weight loss claims hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, “There are appropriate and legal ways to market weight loss and other dietary supplement and functional food products, and then there are advertising claims that raise red flags with the FTC. We developed this tool as a service to our member companies so they have a one-stop location to review the kinds of claims that have led to FTC investigations, consent degrees and punitive financial settlements. Companies can study these cases, look at examples of language that put others under FTC scrutiny for enforcement — and then avoid using such language in their own advertising.”
    
CRN’s searchable compilation indicates that the weight loss category generated the highest settlement costs at $438.4 million, with immunity claims next in line with settlements of $47.2 million and impermissible cancer claims at a distant, but relevant, third place, with claims settlements of $5 million. “We’re now also starting to see enforcement trends in anti-aging claims and claims addressing diabetes," Mister said. "The data illustrates how active FTC has been in recent years and should be a warning to all companies that the agency will move aggressively to remove claims that it believes mislead consumers.” 
 
This effort is the latest CRN self-regulatory initiative designed to help companies focus on responsible actions that separate them from those companies that flout the extensive laws and regulations overseeing the dietary supplement and functional food industry. In 2006, CRN provided the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus with a multi-year grant enabling NAD to increase its monitoring of dietary supplement advertising. With the initiative still going strong, CRN developed a free searchable compilation of all dietary supplement advertising decisions issued by NAD since the initiative began.
 

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FDA approves PharmaJet Stratis injector for delivery of Afluria

BY Michael Johnsen

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. — PharmaJet, the developer of a needle-free injection technology to administer medications and vaccines to patients, and bioCSL, the maker of Afluria (influenza vaccine) on Tuesday announced the Food and Drug Administration has approved the PharmaJet Stratis 0.5mL Needle-Free Jet Injector for delivery of Afluria in individuals ages 18 years to 64 years. This is the first needle-free delivery system approved by the FDA for the administration of an inactivated influenza vaccine, the companies reported.
 
“Healthcare providers now have the option of delivering Afluria without a needle,” stated Ron Lowy, PharmaJet CEO and co-chairman. “The PharmaJet injection technology is an especially important innovation for the millions of individuals who suffer from fear of needles and who consequently forego their annual flu vaccination. We believe this is a significant step forward in the effort to improve public health through broader immunization coverage, as well as improved safety of caregivers.”
 
The PharmaJet injector delivers the vaccine by means of a narrow, precise fluid stream that penetrates the skin in about one-tenth of a second. “The importance of being vaccinated yearly against seasonal influenza cannot be overstated,” commented Marie Mazur, president of bioCSL. “PharmaJet’s needle-free technology, when used to administer Afluria, could play a significant role in increasing adult vaccination rates by helping to personalize vaccine delivery.”

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