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Community pharmacies could have advantage in HIV

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — After it was first identified as the cause of AIDS in 1983, being diagnosed with an HIV infection was a literal death sentence, and it remains that way for many people in poor countries who lack access to the life-saving medications that have transformed HIV from a sure ticket to death into a chronic illness.

(THE NEWS: D.C. health department creates new pharmacy network for HIV drug-assistance program. For the full story, click here.)

But the increasing availability of antiretroviral drugs also has resulted in an evolution of the care model for the disease that brings treatment down to the community pharmacy level, as indicated by the District of Columbia health department’s decision last week.

Of course, HIV drugs still carry numerous side effects and require close interaction between the patient, the physician and the pharmacist. But the news out of the District of Columbia — not to mention Walgreens’ decision to take part in a pilot program to have pharmacists administer HIV tests and the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a home HIV test — shows that HIV is one of those areas of specialty pharmacy where community pharmacies could have an advantage and be well-suited, both for treating people with the disease and prevention efforts like testing and outreach.

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Katrina Church promoted to VP, chief compliance officer at Merz

BY Allison Cerra

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Merz has promoted one of its executives to serve as VP and chief compliance officer.

The company said Katrina Church, who joined the company in November 2009, now will be responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership relating to compliance issues. Church officially took on the new responsibilities July 1.

"Katrina brings extensive experience and a wealth of legal knowledge in pharmaceutical regulatory compliance to her new role," Merz president and CEO Bill Humphries said. "Merz is committed to a tight set of core values that foster a positive, productive and unified work environment. As a company, we do what is right even when it is not easy. Katrina plays a vital role in ensuring that we uphold the highest standards and values in this dynamic regulatory environment. We look forward to working with her on the many compliance requirements facing pharmaceutical companies today."


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Former Dendreon executive joins Onyx

BY Allison Cerra

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Onyx Pharmaceuticals has appointed a new SVP global corporate affairs.

John Osborn will be responsible for the public and government affairs activities of the company, as well as key stakeholder relationships, and will report to Onyx’s president and CEO N. Anthony Coles.

Prior to joining Onyx, Osborn previously served as EVP, general counsel and secretary at Dendreon.


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