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Gans to retire as APhA CEO in 2009

BY Jim Frederick

SAN DIEGO —Capping nearly 20 years of service to the nation’s oldest professional pharmacy organization, John Gans said he will retire as executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Pharmacists Association in 2009.

Gans, APhA’s top executive since 1989 and one of pharmacy’s most respected and influential leaders, revealed plans to retire from the 156-year-old association. He discussed those plans March 17 while attending the final session of the APhA 2008 Annual Meeting and Exposition House of Delegates.

APhA’s board of directors has retained The Miles LeHane Co. to manage the search for a replacement for the well-known pharmacy leader. That new organization chief should be in place early next year, organization leaders predict.

During his long tenure, Gans has overseen the evolution of APhA from a professional organization focused largely on clinical pharmacy issues, licensing, pharmacy education and professional standards, to a more broadly focused and engaged entity. Professional and clinical issues are still of critical concern to the venerable organization—and it continues to represent the professional and practice-standards side of pharmacy across all practice settings, from community pharmacy to hospital and institutional pharmacy. But increasingly, APhA is linked with other groups at the front lines of a defining struggle within pharmacy for greater professional recognition and reimbursement.

Through such umbrella groups as the Coalition for Community Pharmacy and such grass-roots initiatives as Project Destiny, Gans has led APhA into alliances with such other organizations as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association in a massive effort to change the fundamental, underlying perceptions of payers, politicians, policymakers and the public at large regarding the value of retail pharmacy.

In the process, Gans has emerged as a visible spokesman for issues like fair Medicaid reimbursement and the right of retail pharmacists to compound. And APhA has become more effective at leveraging the lobbying power and influence of the more than 63,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others who comprise the group’s membership.

Prior to joining APhA, Gans was dean of the School of Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, where he earned his pharmacy degree in 1966 and his doctorate in pharmacy in 1969.

“Leading APhA for almost 20 years has been a sincere privilege and honor, he said. “Also, I am very proud that APhA continues to identify, create and support opportunities for pharmacists to make a difference in the lives of patients.”

Organization leaders said they’re working on plans for a leadership transition. “For the last two decades, Dr. Gans has provided valuable leadership for APhA,” said Timothy Tucker, who succeeded Winnie Landis as president of the association for 2008-2009 during the meeting in San Diego. “He has been instrumental in facilitating opportunities for pharmacists to provide patient-focused care, leading efforts to move pharmacists toward a viable patient care model for the future.”

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JPMA refutes media reports about dangers of baby bottle materials

BY Jenna Duncan

MT. LAUREL, N.J. The media has been asked by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association to halt stories with claims of purported negative health effects from using baby products containing bisphenol A (BPA). JPMA claims that statements of ill health linked to items containing BPA are often misleading and frighten consumers.

According to JPMA, research has shown that when used properly, products made with BPA do not pose a health threat.

Robert Waller, Jr., the president of JPMA, said, “JPMA is extremely disappointed in the media for speculating that Health Canada’s assessment of BPA would recommend labeling the chemical a dangerous substance, when in fact the report has not even been issued yet.”

Claims in the media have stated that risk may come from the plastic shields on pacifiers, parts of baby bottles or sippy cups being broken down or chewed, and then ingested with food or saliva. Scientific findings indicate that BPA may cause estrogenic effects in laboratory animals, and so concerns about the safety of baby products, especially bottles, has been under scrutiny.

JPMA, whose mission is to educate consumers and industry professionals about juvenile products and safety, is referring consumers to its Web site, www.babybottles.org, for more information on BPA and related health findings.

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American Greetings reports fiscal 2008 profit

BY Doug Desjardins

CLEVELAND American Greetings generated $83.3 million in earnings for fiscal 2008, including $15.6 million in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 29, and more than $1.77 billion in total sales for year. Total sales were down about 1 percent from $1.79 billion the previous year, but earnings were up 96 percent from $42.4 million.

“I’m pleased we were able to achieve earnings within our forecasted range and exceed our cash flow guidance,” said American Greetings chief executive officer Zev Weiss. “Our strong cash flow allowed us to make two acquisitions in the digital photo space and repurchase shares.”

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