HEALTH

CHPA names new president

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON Scott Melville now is at the helm of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

CHPA said Tuesday that Melville, who currently serves as SVP government affairs and general counsel for the Healthcare Distribution and Management Association, will succeed Linda Suydam as president, who is retiring after eight years with CHPA.

Melville brings more than two decades of healthcare, legislative, regulatory and association management experience to his new role as CHPA president. Prior to joining HDMA, the national association representing pharmaceutical wholesale distributors, Melville served as an attorney and head of government relations for Cephalon.

“I am extremely honored to join CHPA at this critical time and to build upon the many accomplishments realized under Linda Suydam’s leadership,” Melville said. “I look forward to working with the CHPA board and the entire membership to further advance the essential contribution that [over-the-counter] medicines and dietary supplements offer to millions of American consumers seeking safe, effective and convenient healthcare remedies.”

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In testimony, NACDS hails federal effort to simplify patient medication information

BY Jim Frederick

ROCKVILLE, Md. Federal efforts to simplify and standardize the information that patients receive with their prescription medications are laudable and should continue, the chain pharmacy lobby told Obama administration health officials Monday.

That message to the Food and Drug Administration came from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which has pushed for simpler patient package inserts, and on a more basic level, a single standard for conveying patient medication information. In a presentation to an FDA public hearing, NACDS VP government affairs and pharmacy adviser Kevin Nicholson said his group is “very pleased” that the agency appears to be moving toward a single information document with standardized format and content. He urged federal health officials to “continue to move toward this laudable goal with all reasonable haste.”

Under current FDA rules, Nicholson testified, “Patients receive several different types of information, developed by different sources that may be duplicative, incomplete, or difficult to read or understand.” The agency should work with NACDS, other pharmacy groups, manufacturers and patients themselves, he asserted, to come up with a “one document solution” to the knotty issue of PMI.

“Patients want a useful document, designed and written for them, that recognizes their information needs, that focuses concisely on critical information and that provides them with clear instructions on where to go for further advice and instruction,” Nicholson told the FDA panel. What’s more, he said, “The provision of multiple documents, containing redundant or even conflicting information, creates logistical and financial burdens for pharmacies that compromise effective patient counseling. It would be far more convenient, efficient and ultimately more effective for pharmacists to counsel patients by providing a single document that could easily be understood and facilitate a discussion concerning proper use of medication.”

That said, the NACDS executive noted, “our first recommendation is for FDA approval of all PMI. However, considering that FDA approval may not be feasible, we urge the agency to develop pilot programs to test various modes of ensuring standard content and format, including using simplified and modified PPIs as PMI. Any pilot program should also test different modes of patient access and delivery to the patient at the pharmacy, at the point of prescribing and via the Internet and/or electronic health records,” Nicholson concluded. “The key to success for PMI will be for continued collaboration among the agency, manufacturers, pharmacies, prescribers and consumer groups.”

In mid-2008, NACDS and seven other pharmacy and consumer organizations submitted a citizen petition to urge the FDA to move to “a concise, plain-language document for patients that would consolidate and replace the multiple written communications pharmacies currently are required to distribute to patients.” Adopting a standard, easier-to-understand medication information format, Nicholson told the agency, would help boost patient adherence, improve health outcomes and cut needless healthcare expenditures.

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Target-funded study highlights cost of hunger in Minnesota

BY Allison Cerra

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Target-funded study, conducted by the University of Minnesota Food Industry Center, found that hunger costs Minnesota residents more than $1.62 billion annually in direct and indirect health and education costs.

The study found that hunger leads to poorer health and education outcomes. For example, Minnesotans pay $925 million in such annual direct medical expenditures as hospitalizations and medications related to hunger, as well as $333 million annually in such indirect medical expenditures as treating headaches and colds. Furthermore, the study found hungry teens likely will develop depression, while hungry adults more likely will be obese or have Type 2 diabetes.

To close the hunger gap in the state, Target has pledged 60,000 lbs. of nonperishable items to the Hunger-Free Minnesota coalition, which seeks to change the way individuals, organizations and governments view and respond to hunger. Target’s donations are part of the company’s continuing involvement in hunger relief nationwide. The coalition includes six Minnesota food banks.

 

 

In related news, Minnesota Public Radio is partnering with the collaboration to underscore hunger awareness with events and radio and digital promotions.

 

Click here to learn more about Hunger-Free Minnesota.

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