PHARMACY

Gans reveals plan to retire from APhA

BY Jim Frederick

SAN DIEGO After nearly 20 years of service to the nation’s oldest professional pharmacy organization, John Gans is beginning a gradual process of disengagement from the American Pharmacists Association.

Gans, APhA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer since 1989 and one of pharmacy’s most respected and influential leaders, revealed plans to retire from the 156-year-old association in 2009. He discussed those plans while attending the final session of the APhA 2008 Annual Meeting & Exposition House of Delegates Monday.

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 in early 2009, according to APhA.

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.

“I am proud of my years of service to patients and the pharmacy profession,” he said. “Leading APhA for almost 20 years has been a sincere privilege and honor. 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 actively working on plans for an executive 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, creating collaborations among professional pharmacy organizations, and raising pharmacists’ stature with the government, payers and other health care entities.

“As we embark upon our search for a new leader for APhA, we look forward to building on Dr. Gans’ legacy, and to leading APhA and the profession to even higher levels of achievement,” said Tucker.

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Study of Copaxone reveals that drug is not effective for patients in treatment of ASL

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON Copaxone, a blockbuster drug manufactured by Israel’s Teva Industries, has proven to be ineffective for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to the company.

Copaxone, which earned Teva $436 million in revenue, was subjected to a 366-patient Phase II trial to investigate if it was able to reduce deterioration in patients with ALS. According to published reports, the study showed that the drug, although safe, did not increase rate of survival among patients battling the disease.

ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, plagues about 10,000 people in the U.S. and Europe. ASL leads to paralysis, and those who are diagnosed are expected to live within 3-5 years experiencing weakness in limbs, twitching and respiratory impairment, as well as other painful symptoms. Copaxone was the leading therapy for multiple sclerosis in the U.S., but based on the new findings, Teva will continue to search for other options in treating the disease.

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Manitoba pharmaceutical regulator tries to end online pharmacies

BY Drew Buono

MANITOBA, Canada The Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association is attempting to put a stranglehold on the province’s Internet pharmacy business, according to CBC news. Manitoba conducts a good deal of online pharmacy business.

The association has approved a new rule that would prevent pharmacies from filling out-of-province prescriptions starting June 30. If pharmacies don’t comply with this new rule, they can have their licenses revoked.

Troy Harwood-Jones, of the Manitoba International Pharmacy Association, said that kind of rule is unheard of in other provinces, and in a recent vote, more than 70 percent of pharmacists voted against it.

In response, the province has assigned a mediator to try to work something out between the Internet pharmacies and the association. Although, Harwood-Jones said that if a deal wasn’t reached, he thought many of the 20 Internet pharmacies in the province would leave.

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