HEALTH

Jaeger is a smart choice for the NCPA

BY Drug Store News Team

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The natural affinity that has sprung up between independent pharmacy and the generic drug industry — both viewed as underdogs in the relentless fight for market position and profits: one versus powerful chain and big-box retailers, the other versus the far more entrenched and well-funded branded drug industry — was never more fully realized than it was last weekend, when the National Community Pharmacists Association introduced its new top manager to its members at the group’s annual meeting.

(THE NEWS: NCPA taps former GPhA chief Jaeger to succeed Bruce Roberts as next CEO. For the full story, click here)

The NCPA’s new EVP and CEO is Kathleen Jaeger, formerly head of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association. Jaeger, a coolly competent industry spearhead and Washington insider, will bring a markedly different leadership style to the independent pharmacy group than that of her predecessor, the able Bruce Roberts, who retired in June. Both are pharmacists: Jaeger, like Roberts, is steeped in the allure of community pharmacy and is the daughter of an independent pharmacist, as well as a pharmacist by training. But where Roberts brought passion borne of long experience operating his own pharmacies to his role as the face of independent pharmacy, Jaeger likely will put a different stamp on the NCPA.

A lawyer as well as a pharmacist by training, Jaeger has the kind of inside-the-Beltway contacts and legal credentials that the organization may need at this stage of its long existence. Before taking command of the GPhA eight years ago, she honed her Washington chops by chairing the Food and Drug Practice for the McKenna and Cuneo law firm and for Kirkpatrick and Lockhart.

While at the GPhA, she worked hard to win respect and visibility for generic drugs and their manufacturers among the public and on Capitol Hill. And that’s exactly the kind of advocacy that the NCPA needs — particularly in this unsettled time of rapid change and uncertainty as the massive reforms coming to the U.S. healthcare system begin to work their way through every facet of professional practice, including pharmacy.

It’s no secret that independent community pharmacies have been hit particularly hard by this brutal recession, not to mention by the longer-term challenges that preceded it, like the steady erosion of pharmacy profit margins. But their role still is a critical one, especially in rural areas where big chains don’t tread. And that’s to say nothing of their economic importance as the small, locally owned businesses that every economy needs in order to thrive.

Jaeger’s experience at the GPhA and as a second-generation pharmacist is a big asset for the NCPA, and if she can replicate her GPhA successes there, then independent pharmacies across the country are likely to benefit as well.

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HEALTH

Rite Aid posts same-store sales decline

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Thursday posted a same-store sales decrease of 1.7% for the four weeks ended Oct. 23, representing a front-end comparable sales decline of 1.3% and a 1.8% drop in same-store pharmacy sales.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 1.9% over the prior-year period.

Both front-end and pharmacy same-store sales were negatively impacted by a significantly weaker cough, cold and flu season compared with the same period last year, when news of an H1N1 pandemic was dominating the airwaves.

Total drug store sales for the four-week period decreased 2.7% to $1.9 billion. Prescription revenue accounted for 68.5% of drug store sales, and third-party prescription revenue represented 96.2% of pharmacy sales.

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GSK Consumer Healthcare applauds FDA’s workshop on NRT products

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare on Thursday commended the Food and Drug Administration for holding a scientific workshop this week that focused on the risks and benefits associated with the long-term use of nicotine-replacement therapy products.

 

GSK, the manufacturer of smoking-cessation products NicoDerm and Nicorette, suggested the workshop is a first step in supporting language in the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which called upon the FDA to "consider approving the extended use of nicotine-replacement products — such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenge — for the treatment of tobacco dependence."

 

 

As a result of the FDA’s review of long-term use, GSK has submitted a statement into the FDA public docket on its position regarding the long-term use of NRT. GSK believes that using NRT products to quit smoking is far safer than continuing to smoke. NRT products offer a step-down therapy that doubles a smoker’s chances of quitting versus attempting to quit smoking “cold turkey.” Additionally, several other countries already encourage the use of NRT products for longer durations to keep people tobacco-free.

 

 

Smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. More than 46 million Americans smoke. Research indicated about 70% of smokers want to quit at any given time, but the success rates remain suboptimal. Tobacco use causes more than 400,000 deaths in the United States each year, and approximately 8.6 million Americans have chronic illnesses related to smoking.

 

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