PHARMACY

McKesson awards Pharmacy of the Year to Alabama’s Marble City Health Mart Pharmacy

BY David Salazar

 SAN DIEGO — Marble City Health Mart Pharmacy was named the 2015 Pharmacy of the Year grand prize winner Thursday evening at the McKesson ideaShare 2015 Opening General Session.

“This pharmacy is a family-owned business that embodies a service-focused atmosphere, and that’s what differentiates them,” Health Mart president Steve Courtman said at the Opening General Session, adding that he’d recently visited the pharmacy to see the owners in action. “They live their motto — ‘The way a drug store used to be’ — by providing personalized service and quality patient care.”

One example of that personalized service: a store cell phone that customers can call 24/7. Staff at the Sylacauga, Ala.-based pharmacy take shifts carrying the cell phone so that they can be available to their patients all of the time.

The cell phone is only one of the several ways that the pharmacy’s founder Danny Johnson and co-owners Jacob and Jared Johnson work toward enhancing their community’s health. The Johnsons regularly hold education events about diabetes, including classes and an annual fair. They also provide Continuing Education classes for doctors and nurses in the area, and they conduct regular visits to local low-income housing residents and four local assisted living facilities.

Other services Marble City Pharmacy offers include health screenings for local state and municipal government employees, and informing local physicians about changes to regulations on medications or new generics through a brief “fax blast.”

Marble City Pharmacy is also the only specialty compounding pharmacy in their area. And in 2014, the Johnsons opened the first home infusion service in the area, Marble City Vital Care, which saved patients who needed infusion supplies a nearly hour-long trip to Birmingham.

“We want Marble City Health Mart Pharmacy to be a part of the community and to give our customers the peace of mind that we will do everything we can to take care of them,” Danny Johnson said. “We are a truly family-owned business; I have passed on the responsibility to my two pharmacist sons, Jacob and Jared. Our customers love and appreciate the family atmosphere.”

McKesson’s Pharmacy of the Year award recognizes independent pharmacies that are best-in-class in a range of areas including innovative approaches to their business and outstanding service to their community. The three Pharmacy of the Year regional winners were: Shushma Patel, who owns the Prescription Shop Health Mart Pharmacy in Montebello, Calif.; Randy McDonoough and Michael Deninger, owners of Iowa City, Iowa’s Towncrest Health Mart Pharmacy; and Chas McCormick, who owns First State Health Mart Pharmacy in Wilmington, Del.

“All of our regional winners are dedicated to providing their customers with extraordinary service that also improves patient care and shows why community pharmacies continue to thrive,” McKesson’s U.S. pharmaceutical president Mark Walchirk said. “McKesson will continue to invest in new programs and clinical services to help independent pharmacies improve their patients’ health and better serve their communities.”

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FDA OKs Aurobindo’s generic version of top-selling Parkinson’s drug

BY Rob Eder

Dayton, N.J. — Aurobindo Pharma Limited has announced that it has received final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for entacapone tablets USP, 200 mg, the generic equivalent to Comtan Tablets 200 mg.

Comtan, which is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, was one of Novartis’ top 20 top-selling drugs in 2014, with sales totaling $371 million.

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Groups push FDA for delay on Track and Trace regulations

BY Rob Eder

ALEXANDRIA, Va.  — Pharmacy organizations, including, The American Pharmacists Association, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations and National Community Pharmacists Association, called on Food and Drug Administration officials to delay enforcement of a July 1 electronic product-tracing deadline for prescription drug dispensers, to “help avoid any potential disruptions in the pharmaceutical supply chain,” the groups noted in a joint letter to FDA.

“With the December, 2014 FDA enforcement discretion delaying enforcement of the product tracing requirements until May 1, 2015, this implementation timetable has been compressed,” the groups wrote in a June 22 letter to FDA deputy director, office of compliance, Dr. Ilisa Bernstein.

“Our organizations remain concerned that despite the extensive efforts by pharmacy and wholesale distributor associations to educate dispensers, some trading partners will encounter challenges beyond their control, with the possible outcome of disruptions in the supply chain,” the letter said. “In order to forestall potential disruptions in the pharmaceutical supply chain, the undersigned organizations respectfully request that FDA utilize its enforcement discretion to delay the July 1 product-tracing deadline for dispensers. Our members fully intend to continue intense, concerted efforts toward full compliance, but by exercising its enforcement authority, FDA would allow progress to continue while minimizing the risk of product shortages or disrupting patient access to prescription drugs.”

To read the full letter, click here

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