News Briefs


Upsher-Smith wins HDA's DIANA award

Gold star trophy.

Upsher-Smith has a reason to celebrate.

The company has been honored with a Distribution Industry Award for Notable Achievement in Healthcare for Best Overall Branded Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturer with less than $300 million in sales by the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, or HDA.

"Upsher-Smith is committed to upholding our reputation as a trusted healthcare partner. Delivering peace of mind for our customers by offering the best in supply and pharmaceutical manufacturing excellence is at the forefront of all that we do," said Rich Fisher, president and COO of Upsher-Smith. "This marks the 13th DIANA award for Upsher-Smith, and we are especially proud of the ongoing confidence that distributors have in our product quality and reliable supply. This customer confidence fuels our team to bring even more products to our trading partners in the years ahead."

Upsher-Smith will soon expand upon its long-standing, award-winning relationships with distributors with the opening of its new, 270,000-sq-ft., state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Maple Grove, Minn. The new site will have up-to-the-minute serialization and packaging capabilities and has capacity and capabilities that could support contract manufacturing for third parties.

The HDA presented the awards to outstanding pharmaceutical and consumer product manufacturers at its 2022 Business and Leadership Conference in Orlando on June 6, 2022.

Since 1959, the DIANA Awards have been presented to pharmaceutical and consumer product manufacturers that set the standard for excellence in developing innovative new product introductions and promotions, fostering exceptional trading partner relationships, advancing trade relations and creating business practices that benefit the entire healthcare supply chain.

DIANA finalists and winners for Best Overall Company are chosen by HDA distributor members who judge companies based on several criteria including knowledgeable salespeople, high-level customer service, demonstrated flexibility and creativity in marketing and incorporation of new technologies to ensure product safety and security.

Upsher-Smith is included among a distinguished group of present and past recipients who serve as models for leadership and innovation in the healthcare marketplace.


NCPA applauds FTC probe of PBMs

money pills teaser size

The National Community Pharmacists Association is hailing a move by the Federal Trade Commission to proceed with a 6(b) study of pharmacy benefit managers and anti-competitive business practices.

After the commission in February split 2-2 on a proposal to launch a formal study into PBMs, FTC chair Lina Khan pledged to call for another vote on the issue.

“PBMs behave like monopolies. Their secretive, anticompetitive practices increase prescription drug prices, limit consumer choice and stymie competition. They’ve escaped serious scrutiny for far too long, but this study will bring their dirty laundry out into the open,” said NCPA CEO Doug Hoey.

The vote comes after Alvaro Bedoya, who was sworn in as commissioner in May, joined Khan and all commissioners in voting to support the investigation. This will make the six largest PBMs (CVS Caremark; Express Scripts; OptumRx; Humana; Prime Therapeutics; and MedImpact Healthcare Systems) hand over information on PBM business practices, including fees and clawbacks charged to unaffiliated pharmacies, patient-steering, audits of independent pharmacies, reimbursement and more, the organization said. 

“NCPA has repeatedly called on the FTC to scrutinize PBM practices and thousands of community pharmacy owners and their allies have shared with the FTC their examples of the impact health insurer-owned PBMs have on consumer costs and access to prescription drugs contributing to the FTC decision to do the 6(b) study. These examples have made a difference. We’re grateful to chair Khan and the commissioners for considering these concerns and approving this study, which we hope will result in meaningful reforms to merger and acquisition reviews and, of course, to the insurer-PBMs themselves.,” said Hoey.  


APhA building annex named after John Gans

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On June 5, 2022, the American Pharmacists Association formally dedicated its new building as the John A. Gans Annex.

Current APhA president Theresa Tolle led a dedication ceremony attended by the APhA board of trustees, guests and family members.

The APhA building is both special and unique in that it is the only privately owned property on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The original headquarters were designed by architect John Russell Pope, with the initial groundbreaking ceremony in 1932. Construction was completed in 1933 and the building’s initial dedication took place in 1934 on the front lawn of the building with a prepared message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Plans to expand the headquarters were announced in 2001 and ground was broken for the John A. Gans Annex in 2006. In 2009, the new APhA headquarters were dedicated.

[Read more: APhA changes executive leadership]

John A. Gans was the 11th CEO of APhA and was the catalyst for expanding the home of America’s pharmacists in the early 2000s. Gans, with the support of APhA staff and board members, had the foresight to purchase additional land directly behind the original APhA headquarters and to expand the building. The expansion of APhA headquarters has allowed APhA to lease office space to the federal government and to optimize this important asset in support of the association’s mission.

Gans represents one of the most forward-thinking pharmacists of this era and has been a part of numerous teams and coalitions continuing to push the profession of pharmacy into the future. He graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, where he received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1966 followed by a doctorate in pharmacy in 1969. During his tenure with APhA, he was at the forefront of the movement to expand pharmacists’ roles from being dispensers of medications to being medication experts. He also helped pave the path requiring that all pharmacists gain a PharmD to become licensed to practice. During Gans’ tenure, APhA provided the leadership in collaboration with state affiliates for pharmacists to become immunizers. During the pandemic, this served our country well as pharmacists vaccinated two out of every three Americans. This is only a snapshot of Gans’ many great contributions to the profession throughout his career.

[Read more: APhA, NASPA release 2022 National State-based Pharmacy Workplace Survey]

His passion and innovative thinking in pharmacy laid the groundwork for what the practice of pharmacy is today and the reason that it continues to grow as a profession. APhA is honored to announce the dedication of the annex to Dr. Gans as a small token of his innumerable contributions to pharmacy, APhA said.


Surescripts taps Frank Harvey as CEO

wooden blocks shaped as people

Surescripts, a leading health information network, is welcoming a new executive leader.

Frank Harvey is joining the company as CEO, effective June 27. Harvey succeeds Tom Skelton, who previously announced his decision to retire.

Harvey is a pharmacist, an experienced chief executive and investor who has had numerous senior leadership roles during his more than 35-year career in the healthcare technology, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sectors, the company said.

Harvey joins Surescripts from ATLS Investment, where he led private equity investing in healthcare technology companies. Previously, he served as CEO of Mirixa and Liberty Medical Supply.

“It’s been a pleasure to work closely with Tom over the past eight years, and we appreciate the many successes that Surescripts achieved under his leadership,” said Steven Miller, co-chair of Surescripts’ board of directors. “We are now poised for continued growth and new opportunities with Frank’s leadership at this incredible time in health care.”

“Frank is a results-oriented leader with strong operational skills, and extensive experience growing healthcare businesses,” said Douglas Hoey, co-chair of Surescripts’ board of directors. “Frank combines his unique perspective and depth of experience with a passion for improving the lives of patients and evolving the healthcare system.”

“I’m honored to join Surescripts at such a critical time, and I look forward to working with the team to realize the enormous potential we have to change health care,” Harvey said. “I’m committed to what we do as a company and the new products and services we will bring to market that I believe will have a significant impact on the healthcare system as a whole.”


Pringles Wavy Chipotle Ranch delivers spicy, cool flavor blend

pringles wavy chipotle ranch

Pringles is continuing to once again innovate its Wavy chips line with the launch of a brand-new flavor.

Wavy Chipotle Ranch delivers smoky chipotle heat and creamy zesty ranch flavors in a chip that features a thick and wavy texture for an extra bold crunch, the Battle Creek, Mich.-based company said.

“We’re always listening to what our fans crave and pride ourselves on delivering insanely accurate flavor combinations in a single crisp,” said Mauricio Jenkins, U.S. marketing lead at Pringles. “These new crisps boast the perfect balance of spicy and sweet with flavor first and heat second, all while providing Pringles Ranch devotees and snackers alike with a new way to experience this classic bite.”

Consumers can find Pringles Wavy Chipotle Ranch for a limited time at Walgreens stores nationwide.


Amgen’s Rituxan biosimilar gets FDA OK for new indication

Binder with FDA Approved

Amgen has obtained the Food and Drug Administration’s permission for Riabni (rituximab-arrx), a biosimilar to Rituxan, in combination with methotrexate for adults with moderate to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response to one or more tumor necrosis factor antagonist therapies.

Riabni already is approved for the treatment of adult patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (also called Wegener’s granulomatosis) and microscopic polyangiitis.

"The approval of Riabni is an important advancement for adults living with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory joint disease, who now have access to a proven and affordable treatment option," said Murdo Gordon, executive vice president of global commercial operations at Amgen. "Our fully integrated portfolio of innovative and biosimilar medicines for inflammatory diseases reinforces our commitment to providing patients with high quality and affordable treatment options that deliver substantial value to our healthcare system."