PHARMACY

Costco’s Burnett wins Pratt Award, NACDS’ highest honor

BY Jim Frederick

BOSTON Wholesale club pharmacy pioneer Charles “Charlie” Burnett, who over the past two decades has patiently built a major presence in retail pharmacy at club store giant Costco Wholesale, has won the Harold W. Pratt Award, chain pharmacy’s highest honor.

Burnett, Costco’s senior vice president of pharmacy, was presented the Harold W. Pratt Award Aug. 14 during the closing dinner of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Pharmacy and Technology Conference. NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson presented the award to Burnett as his family—including his wife Barbara, daughter Vicky, son-in-law Mike, and two grandchildren, Lizzie and Jake—looked on.

Burnett, a former U.S. Navy Corpsman who graduated first in his class at the Naval Hospital Corps School in San Diego, began his career in pharmacy after being honorably discharged in 1955. After graduation from the University of Arizona school of pharmacy and stints with several independent and hospital pharmacies, he joined Fed Mart Corp. as a staff pharmacist, working his way up to regional supervisor.

During his tenure at Fed Mart, Burnett also earned a law degree from the University of San Diego in 1970. After a brief stint at practicing law, he became Fed Mart’s vice president and general manager of pharmacy, leading the growth of pharmacy at the chain to a 75-unit, high-volume operation that pioneered value-priced pharmaceuticals. He also founded his own independent chain, Save Mart.

Given his extensive background, it was no surprise that in 1986 Costco came knocking when the club store chain was looking for someone to develop a pharmacy division for its wholesale operation. The division Burnett helped create at Costco—the first pharmacy operation within the wholesale club industry—has grown into a major force in retail pharmacy, with more than 430 in-store prescription centers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Burnett also remains active in community endeavors. He and his wife Barbara founded the Northwest Academy for Exceptional Children, a non-profit organization that provides educational, residential and lifelong support for people with Autism and other developmental disabilities.

“It is individuals like Burnett that give the field of pharmacy a sterling reputation in communities throughout the nation,” said Anderson. “This award acknowledges only a small portion of what this distinguished individual has accomplished. We are extremely fortunate to have such a man of his character in our business.”

Named for the former director of professional services at Walgreen Co., the Harold W. Pratt Award was established in 1985 by the NACDS board to honor leaders who have contributed significantly to the advancement of community pharmacy, either directly through pharmacy operations, or through supporting the advancement of community pharmacy.

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PHARMACY

Esprit pays milestone to Indevus, acquires marketing rights for Sanctura XR

BY Adam Kraemer

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. Esprit Pharma announced this week that it has exercised its option to acquire the marketing rights of the recently approved Sancutra XR (trospium chloride extended release capsules).

Esprit paid its development and co-promotion partner, Indevus Pharmaceuticals, the milestone owed it Tuesday, following approval by the Food and Drug Administration. With the payment, Esprit secured rights to market Sancutra XR in the United States and its territories. Indevus announced on Monday, Aug. 6, that Sancutra XR had been approved by the FDA.

Sancutra XR is indicated for the once-daily treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and urinary frequency.

Sancutra XR, the once-daily formulation of Sanctura, is a unique quaternary ammonium compound in a class of anticholinergic compounds known as muscarinic receptor antagonists. OAB is estimated to affect approximately 33 million Americans and represents a significant clinical problem with potential medical, hygienic, and social consequences. When untreated, this condition can lead to disability, dependence, and isolation from the community. It is most prevalent among the elderly and strikes women twice as frequently as men.

“The approval of Sancutra XR sets a new benchmark in the treatment of overactive bladder, further strengthens our flagship brand, and reinforces our commitment to patients who suffer from overactive bladder and the clinicians who treat them.,” stated John Spitznagel, chairman and chief executive officer of Esprit Pharma. “We are extremely excited about bringing this best in class compound to market in the near future.”

Esprit is responsible for the marketing and sales of Sancutra XR and Indevus is a sales co-promotion partner for the product through 2008.

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GSK, Takeda agree to add stronger warnings of heart failure to diabetes drug packaging

BY Adam Kraemer

WASHINGTON Manufacturers of certain drugs approved to treat Type 2 diabetes have agreed to add a stronger warning on the risk of heart failure, the Food and Drug Administration reported. The information will be included in the form of a “boxed” warning—FDA’s strongest form of a warning. The upgraded warning emphasizes that the drugs may cause or worsen heart failure in certain patients.

The FDA determined, following a postmarketing study of the drugs’ adverse effect, that an updated label with a boxed warning on the risks of heart failure was needed for the entire thiazolidinedione class of antidiabetic drugs. This class includes Avandia (rosiglitazone), Actos (pioglitazone), Avandaryl (rosiglitazone and glimepiride), Avandamet (rosiglitazone and metformin) and Duetact (pioglitazone and glimepride). These drugs are used in conjunction with diet and exercise, to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. The FDA had asked the drug’s manufacturers, GlaxoSmithKline and Takeda Pharmaceutical, to address these concerns.

“Under the FDA’s postmarketing surveillance program, we carefully monitor new safety information for marketed drugs and take appropriate action when necessary to inform patients and health care providers of new information,” said Steven Galson, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This new boxed warning addresses FDA’s concerns that despite the warnings and information already listed in the drug labels, these drugs are still being prescribed to patients without careful monitoring for signs of heart failure.”

The FDA’s review found cases of significant weight gain and edema—warning signs of heart failure. In some reports, continuation of therapy has even been associated with death.

The strengthened warning advises health care professionals to observe patients carefully for the signs and symptoms of heart failure, including excessive, rapid weight gain, shortness of breath, and edema after starting drug therapy. Patients with these symptoms who then develop heart failure should receive appropriate management of the heart failure and use of the drug should be reconsidered. People who have questions should contact their health care providers to discuss alternative treatments.

The warning also states that these drugs should not be used by people with serious or severe heart failure who have marked limits on their activity and who are comfortable only at rest or who are confined to bed or a chair.

The review of Avandia and possible increased risk of heart attacks is ongoing. On July 30, 2007, FDA’s Endocrine and Metabolic Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee recommended that Avandia continue to be marketed, and further recommended that information be added to the labeling for risk of heart attacks (ischemic risks).

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