Former HHS secretaries to discuss healthcare reform at NCPA Annual Convention
ALEXANDRIA, Va. An industry group catering to the nation’s independent pharmacies has tapped two former Health and Human Services secretaries to speak at its annual convention and trade expo.
Michael Leavitt and Donna Shalala will discuss healthcare reform — and provide an insider’s view as the former leaders of the department where some of the most important healthcare reform implementation decisions will be made — at the National Community Pharmacists Association’s 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
NCPA added that Leavitt and Shalala will speak at the second general session and government affairs forum. The session is scheduled for the morning of Oct. 25.
Leavitt and Shalala both had extensive careers at HHS. Leavitt is credited for successfully implementing the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit during his four years at the government agency, and created national strategies and implemented plans for several major components of the healthcare system, including health information systems, personalized medicine, pandemic preparedness and medical emergency response.
Meanwhile, Shalala was the longest-serving HHS secretary (8 years), during which time she directed the welfare-reform process, made health insurance available to an estimated 3.3 million children through the approval of all State Children’s Health Insurance Programs, raised child immunization rates to the highest levels in history, led major reforms of the FDA’s drug approval process and food safety system, revitalized the National Institutes of Health and directed a major management and policy reform of Medicare.
“With the government becoming the largest purchaser of health care/pharmacy services, we think there is no one better to offer the roadmap for what to expect during healthcare-reform implementation than these two former heads of HHS,” said NCPA president Joseph Harmison.
A1c readings may not be accurate for some ethnic groups, study finds
NEW YORK The hemoglobin A1c test may not provide accurate results for elderly Asians, according to published reports about a new study.
The American Diabetes Association said the test works when doctors use an A1c reading of 6.5% to indicate diabetes, but the study, conducted in Singapore, found that the cutoff often misses the disease in older Asians. The study was conducted on participants between the ages of 20 and 93 years.
The study’s findings were scheduled to be presented Sunday at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Diego, according to the reports.
Valeant, Biovail to merge
TORONTO U.S. drug maker Valeant and Canadian drug maker Biovail will merge, the two companies said Monday.
The combined company will carry the name Valeant Pharmaceuticals International but will have its headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario. Valeant is currently based in Aliso Viejo, Calif.
Under the agreement, Valeant stockholders will receive $16.77 per share immediately before the merger’s closing and, after its closing, 1.78 shares of Biovail stock for every share of Valeant stock they own. After the merger closes, Biovail shareholders will own around 50.5% and Valeant shareholders will own 49.5% of the combined company.
Biovail is known mostly for such specialty drugs as the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL (bupropion), while Valeant’s range of branded and branded generic drugs include the acne treatment Acanya Gel (clindamycin phosphate and benzoyl peroxide).
Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson will reside in Barbados as the new CEO, while Biovail CEO Bill Wells will be nonexecutive chairman. The company’s 11-member board of directors will include five representatives from Biovail, five from Valeant and one independent Canadian resident director.
“This compelling combination will create tremendous value for stockholders of both companies as our business benefits from cost savings, greater scale, efficiencies from extending Biovail’s corporate structure and enhanced financial strength and flexibility,” Pearson said.