PHARMACY

Albertsons acquires MedCart Specialty Pharmacy

BY David Salazar

BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons has taken a big step to expand its specialty pharmacy services. The company on Wednesday announced the acquisition of MedCart Specialty Pharmacy, a URAC accredited provider of specialty care services and medication management for patients and providers dealing with complex diseases.

“MedCart Specialty Pharmacy has built an exemplary operation which complements our patient-centered care strategy and pharmacy services growth plan,” Albertsons SVP pharmacy health and wellness Mark Panzer said. “Their team has done a tremendous job establishing a service culture that focuses on the patient.”

Under the acquisition, MedCart will continue to operate as it did before, but as a new business unit under Albertsons’ pharmacy team structure. The MedCart leadership team will remain in place, reporting directly to Albertsons group VP pharmacy operations, Dain Rusik.

“We’re excited to join the Albertsons Cos. team,” MedCart co-founder and VP specialty operations Eddie Abueida said “Our business principles and goals complement one another, which benefit everyone involved in the partnership – most importantly our patients.”

MedCart provides its services from two facilities in Michigan — a specialty pharmacy operations center and a local pharmacy.

“We’ve worked hard to create an infrastructure that serves patients and providers with the utmost in quality specialty care services and coordination that are required for these medications,” MedCart co-founder and VP specialty business development Ed Saleh said. “Albertsons Companies presented an excellent opportunity for us to extend our mission to more patients.”

Albertsons is building out its specialty pharmacy capabilities at the same time as it bolsters its digital and omnichannel retail approach, having recently hired two key executives to grow its digital capabilities. 

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PHARMACY

Touro College of Pharmacy graduates 6th class

BY David Salazar

NEW YORK — Touro College of Pharmacy last week celebrated the graduation of its sixth class of new pharmacists. The school held commencement exercises for the 97 graduates at Columbia University’s Roone Arledge Auditorium, sending students off on such paths as work in retail or hospital pharmacies, public health organizations, government agencies and drug companies, as well as more schooling.

“How pharmacists will function in a world where distant pharmacies and computer-filled prescriptions are becoming the norm all represent challenges to professional practice,” Touro College and University system president Dr. Alan Kadish told graduates. “Whatever the challenges appear to be, and however complex your lives seem, one individual can really make a difference. One of the keys to making that difference is perseverance and commitment.”

The school welcomed Sage Medicatoin Practices medication safety specialist Darryl Rich as the event’s keynot speaker. He noted the changing role he has seen since he got started in pharmacy and the increased respect for a pharmacist’s clinical knowledge that has come with expanded services pharmacists provide.

“Physicians know and respect the clinical knowledge and skills of pharmacists — not only accepting but demanding that they be part of the team in the care of the patient,” Rich said, adding that increased recognition extends to health care management and leaders in other areas of the industry when it comes to proper medication use and medication safety.

Other speakers highlighted the need for the newly minted pharmacists to put medication safety at the forefront in their work.

“You may be the clinical pharmacist who provides the antibiotic drug regimen for a patient with life-threatening pneumonia, or who sees patients with heart diseases, does a targeted physical exam, orders blood tests and prescribes anticoagulants to prevent strokes,” Touro College of Pharmacy dean Henry Cohen said in his remarks. “Your opportunities to help patients and society are endless.”

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FDA approves first Strattera generics from 4 companies

BY David Salazar

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced its approval of the first generic versions of Strattera (atomoxetine), a treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adults.

Apotex, Aurobindo, Teva and Glenmark all earned approval from the regulatory agency to market the drug in multiple strengths.

"Today’s approvals mark an important step forward in bringing consumers additional treatments that have met the FDA’s rigorous standards," Dr. Kathleen Uhl, M.D., director of the Office of Generic Drugs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said. "Quickly bringing generics to market so patients have more options to treat their conditions is a top priority for the FDA."

The drug is dispensed with a boxed warning about increased risk of suicidal ideation in children and adolescents.

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