PHARMACY

Bill for fast response to drug abuse advances in Senate with NACDS nod

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A move by the Senate to root out early-stage drug abuse in the communities where it first takes hold gained a strong endorsement Thursday from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson sent a letter Thursday to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, voicing the group’s support for legislation that would help stop drug abuse problems in the communities where they begin, before those problems move beyond the local level and impact a wider region. The new bill, which has bipartisan backing, targets abuse of both prescription and non-prescription medications and methamphetamine, among others.

“This bipartisan bill…builds upon the highly successful Drug Free Communities program by providing critical funding to local communities to more effectively deal with emerging drug trends and local drug crises,” wrote Anderson. “On behalf of our members, and the communities and families they serve, we are pleased to endorse your bill.”

Leahy and Grassley, who also serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced the bill as S. 3031, or the Drug Free Communities Enhancement Act of 2010. The legislation would authorize the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to fund community efforts that address emerging local drug issues or local drug crises.

Behind the proposal, according to language inserted in S. 3031, is “historical evidence showing that emerging local drug issues and crises can be stopped or mitigated before they spread to other areas, if they are identified quickly and addressed in a comprehensive multi-sector manner.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation on April 15, clearing its way for placement on the Senate legislative calendar. To reach President Obama’s desk for almost certain enactment, the bill would need to be passed in identical form by the Senate and House of Representatives.

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PHARMACY

Drake University’s pharmacy college honors PTCB executive director, CEO

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Drake University’s College of Pharmacy has given its 2010 Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal of Honor to the leader of a pharmacy technician group.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board announced Tuesday that executive director and CEO Melissa Murer Corrigan had received the medal, which the college, in Des Moines, Iowa, gives to individuals whom it considers to show dedication to the pharmacy profession. Murer Corrigan has served in her position at the PTCB since its 1995 inception.

“Under Melissa’s guidance and leadership, PTCB has positioned pharmacy technicians as an integral part of enhanced pharmacy practice and improved patient care,” American Pharmacists Association EVP and CEO Thomas Menighan said. “Trained, skilled pharmacy technicians empower pharmacists to spend time with patients to optimize their drug therapy and achieve the most positive outcomes possible.”

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FDA adds boxed warning to propylthiouracil label

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has added its strongest possible warning to a drug used to treat thyroid conditions amid reports of severe liver problems in patients using it, the agency announced Wednesday.

The FDA said it added a boxed warning to the label for propylthiouracil, a drug used to treat hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease, conditions that cause goiters. The agency said it had received numerous reports of severe liver injury and acute liver failure, sometimes resulting in death, in adults and children.

The FDA approved the drug in 1947, and it is marketed as a generic. Pregnant women often use propylthiouracil during the first trimester due to possible risk of birth defects during that time from use of another drug for hyperthyroidism, methimazole, the FDA said. King Pharmaceuticals markets methimazole as Tapazole, though the drug also is available as a generic.

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