PHARMACY

GNP funds new university chair to boost entrepreneurial pharmacy

BY Jim Frederick

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. AmerisourceBergen Corp.’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy division has pledged what company sources describe as a substantial gift to the University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The donation will endow “The Good Neighbor Pharmacy Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurial Pharmacy Practice” at the school.

GNP is a network of nearly 2,800 independently owned and operated pharmacies supplied by AmerisourceBergen, with common marketing and merchandising themes. Its donation was announced at an alumni and donor event at the annual meeting of the California Pharmacists Association in Sacramento last weekend.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to partner with Pacific,” said David Neu, ABC’s senior vice president of retail sales and marketing. “This GNP chair reinforces our commitment to community pharmacy. Furthermore, the University’s programs align with Good Neighbor Pharmacy and its objective of expanding the role of the independent pharmacist.”

The Stockton, Calif.-based college grants degrees to approximately 200 pharmacy graduates each year. The new GNP-sponsored chair will enable the school to launch a specialized track in entrepreneurial pharmacy practice, which will prepare future pharmacists for innovative practice models, and “to assume ownership of private practice pharmacies offering specialized services that enhance patient care,” according to ABC.

“University of the Pacific has been a leader in producing practice-ready pharmacists for over fifty years,” said Phillip Oppenheimer, dean of the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “This generous gift and the program it supports will allow us to meet our students’ needs to obtain education in entrepreneurial practice, which will ultimately lead to better consumer service and patient care.”

The donor has requested that the gift amount be kept confidential, but said it will cover “a significant portion of the estimated cost of establishing the new chair and its related programs.”

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Biogen Idec, Icahn trade snipes

BY Drew Buono

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Biogen Idec chief executive officer Jim Mullen has called statements made by investor Carl Icahn, who said Biogen did not do enough to find a potential buyer last year, “Monday morning quarterbacking,” according to the Boston Globe.

Though Mullen didn’t specifically say Icahn’s name, his comments came just a week after Icahn publicly blasted last year’s efforts as “flawed.” Icahn, who owns more than 4 percent of Biogen’s stock, last month nominated three people to sit on the company’s board, as part of his continuing efforts to pressure it to find a buyer. Recently, Icahn told CNBC that he continues to believe Biogen should be sold to a major pharmaceuticals company.

Mullen said the company would be open to considering takeover offers, but he said it needs to “get back” to running its business. “I don’t think the right way to run the business, for anyone’s sake, is to have a permanent ‘for sale’ sign out on the front lawn,” he said. Mullen also said that problems with the company’s multiple sclerosis drug Tysarbi, which was taken off the market in 2005 because of links to a rare brain disease before being reintroduced in 2006, has kept potential buyers drawn back.

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FDA issues adverse reaction warning about Botox

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration has notified the public that Botox, Botox Cosmetic and Myobloc (botulinum toxin type b) have been linked to adverse reactions in patients including respiratory failure and death.

The agency has stated that early indications, based on review of materials, links the reactions to overdosing of the medications and not defects in the products.

The adverse effects were found in FDA-approved and nonapproved products. The most severe adverse effects were found in children treated for spasticity in their limbs associated with cerebral palsy. Treatment of spasticity is not an FDA-approved use of Botox products in children or adults.

The adverse reactions appear to be related to the spread of the drug to areas distant from the site of injection, and copy symptoms of botulism, which may include difficulty swallowing, weakness and breathing problems.

The FDA is not advising health care professionals to discontinue prescribing these—Allergan and Solstice Neurosciences—products and stated that it is currently reviewing safety information from clinical studies performed by the manufacturers of the drugs.

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