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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Decision Resources: More patients switch to Onglyza from Merck’s Type 2 diabetes drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

BURLINGTON, Mass. Many Type 2 diabetes patients who use the drug Onglyza (saxagliptin) switched to that drug from Merck’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and Janumet (sitagliptin and metformin), according to a new report by market research firm Decision Resources.

 

The report found that 9.3% of patients for whom Onglyza –– made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca –– was not their first Type 2 diabetes drug had previously used Januvia, while 7.9% had used Janumet. All three drugs belong to the same class, known as DPP-IV inhibitors.

 

 

“While about half of physicians we surveyed predict their prescribing of Onglyza will increase over the next two years, and Onglyza has picked up some patient share from Januvia and Janumet, Januvia’s more favorable formulary positioning and noncoverage of Onglyza will remain important hurdles for Onglyza’s uptake,” Decision Resources analyst Kate Sullivan said.

 

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NYT article: FSA changes shed light on old eligibility problems

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK A New York Times report published Tuesday illustrated exactly how far apart the rubber is from the road when it comes to incentivizing preventive healthcare practices and the implementation of the new rules associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Even as common over-the-counter remedies soon will require a prescription in order to be eligible for reimbursement under flexible spending account arrangements, tried and true preventive healthcare practices, such as breast-feeding, are not and in fact have never been considered eligible for FSA reimbursement, the report noted. “With all the changes the healthcare overhaul will bring in the coming years, it nonetheless will leave those regulations intact when new rules for flexible spending accounts go into effect in January,” the report read.

Breast pumps are not considered eligible FSA expenditures despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics made a direct appeal to the Internal Revenue Service to define such products as breast pumps as a device used for medical care. In May 2009, the IRS determined that breast pumps do not diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease. However, the Food and Drug Administration regulates the manufacture of breast pumps as medical devices, and there are numerous studies that establish the preventive health benefits for children consuming their mother’s breast milk.

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