HEALTH

J&J chairman addresses McNeil ‘phantom recall’ before House committee

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON McNeil products soon will repopulate shelves, Johnson & Johnson chairman and CEO Bill Weldon shared on Thursday during his testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

 

The hearing was held to discuss the recent spate of McNeil recalls of certain infants’ and children’s products. “I know that we let the public down. We did not maintain our high-quality standards, and as a result, children do not have access to our important medicines,” Weldon said, pledging personally to see to fixing the quality concerns at McNeil.

 

 

The recalls were a precautionary measure, Weldon added, initiated despite the low risk as evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration had the products not been recalled. “It is important for consumers to know that the April 2010 recall was not undertaken on the basis of reports of adverse medical events. We recalled these products because of Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to consumers and its belief that the serious manufacturing issues it uncovered needed to be addressed even though the health risks to consumers were remote.”

 

 

Nonetheless, retailers can expect new shipments of a McNeil liquid pediatric product to reach their warehouses beginning next week. Weldon noted that as many as 1 million bottles will be part of that first rollout, and an additional 3 million bottles should be distributed by the end of 2010.

 

Regarding what the House committee has termed the Motrin “phantom recall,” Weldon also acknowledged that the company made a mistake in not including the FDA in its decision to “retrieve” eight-caplet Motrin products from the marketplace that were distributed primarily through the convenience store channel. Those caplets were being bought back by a third party under direction of McNeil because they “were found not to dissolve as quickly as intended,” as opposed to any safety concerns.

 

In closing, committee chairman Ed Towns, D-N.Y., suggested that the committee’s investigation into the J&J recalls was not concluded. “The testimony [today], combined with the testimony at our first hearing, indicates some very serious problems — both with the way Johnson & Johnson viewed its responsibility to the public and with its day-to-day relationship with the FDA,” he said.

 

 

Regarding the Motrin “phantom recall,” Towns said, “the evidence indicates J&J did everything it could to avoid a formal recall. In short, J&J tried to pull a fast one on the American public. I think it is fair to say this is not the last word on this investigation.”

 

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Drug Store News once again hosts annual Industry Issues Summit, Diabetes Roundtable

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Drug Store News is presenting in November in New York its 12th annual Industry Issues Summit and eighth annual Diabetes Roundtable — a must-attend event that attracts leading industry players and will feature a special celebrity speaker.

This year’s Industry Issues Summit will be held Nov. 30 at the New York Athletic Club, which is located just a stone’s throw away from Central Park. Over the years, the Industry Issues Summit has become a critical industry event, and this year’s gathering will prove to be especially important in light of healthcare reform, the economy and its impact on consumer shopping behavior, and retail pharmacies increasingly taking a proactive role on the frontlines of U.S. health care.

Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” will be the keynote speaker. Kudlow, who for many years served as chief economist for a number of Wall Street firms, will be presenting “Never Sell America Short: Free-Market Capitalism and the American Economy.” Kudlow is a nationally syndicated columnist and also hosts his own blog. He is a contributing editor of National Review magazine, as well as a columnist and economics editor for National Review Online. He is the author of “American Abundance: The New Economic and Moral Prosperity,” published by Forbes in January 1998. He also serves as CEO of Kudlow & Co., an economic research firm.

“This one-day event will provide unprecedented access to a multiple list of leading-edge retailers from many formats that will enable sponsors a unique opportunity to share in the dialogue about retailer-supplier best practices, alignment strategies and industry growth opportunities. Drug Store News is also pleased to make our Industry Issues Summit and Diabetes Roundtable an annual event that is held every year during ‘NACDS Week’ in New York City, which times nicely with several key committee meetings and highlights with the NACDS Foundation Dinner,” said Wayne Bennett, publisher of The Drug Store News Group.

Retail panelists for this year’s Issues Summit will include top executives from H-E-B, Costco, Max-Wellness, Rite Aid, Wegmans, Ulta Beauty, Walgreens, Sam’s Club and Ace Hardware.

Retail panelists for the Diabetes Roundtable include top executives from McKesson’s Health Mart, Wegmans, H-E-B, Giant Eagle, AmerisourceBergen, Rite Aid, Kerr Drug and Cardinal Health.

Current sponsors include Pacific World, Takeda, Pharmavite, TABS, Catalina Marketing, Alberto Culver and Nipro Diagnostics.

To register, visit DSNIndustryIssues.com. For more information on sponsoring the Issues Summit and/or Diabetes Roundtable, contact Wayne Bennett at wbennett@drugstorenews.com or call (212) 756-5157.

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NACDS, NCPA praise congressional passage of safe drug-disposal legislation

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two groups representing the nation’s pharmacies lauded the passage of the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act by the Senate and House of Representatives.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association announced their support of the bill, which fosters collaboration between pharmacies, consumers and law enforcement for the safe disposal of unused drugs. The National Community Pharmacist Association developed its own voluntary prescription drug-disposal program, called Dispose My Meds.

“Prescription drug abuse is at epic proportions in many parts of the country, and community pharmacists are uniquely positioned to help Americans properly dispose of their expired and unused prescription drugs,” said NCPA acting EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey. “We commend members of Congress from both parties for coming together to approve this important legislation.”

NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson noted the organization welcomed "advancing the safe use and safe handling of medications."

“By steering clear of a drug take-back program mandate, Congress wisely prevented unintended consequences that could have undermined the health and safety of the public and of pharmacy personnel,” Anderson said. “NACDS appreciates the work of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Reps. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.; Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; Joe Barton, R-Texas; and Lamar Smith, R-Texas, to ensure that good public policy won the day on this important issue."

In related news, Walgreens on Thursday announced its first-ever safe drug-disposal program through a collaboration with Sharps Compliance, which has worked with the NCPA on the Dispose My Meds program.

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