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NACDS chairman Loeffler calls for even greater grassroots engagement

BY Alaric DeArment

BOSTON — In addressing attendees of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Pharmacy and Technology Conference, NACDS chairman and H-E-B chief administrative officer Bob Loeffler called for even greater grassroots engagement within the industry and encouraged attendees to participate in NACDS RxImpact, the organization’s grassroots campaign to reach political leaders, by attending the Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

"NACDS has never been stronger, and NACDS needs to confront any threat to the viability of pharmacy patient care services," Loeffler said. "That said, I need to emphasize an undeniable, unavoidable and perhaps under-appreciated fact: We need your engagement."

Loeffler said dedication was needed in demonstrating to policymakers the need for policy that "reduces the nation’s overall healthcare expenses and maintains patient care at high levels while keeping the pharmacy industry viable."

"It’s not that grassroots engagement is a missing ingredient within pharmacy," Loeffler added. "It just needs a lot more muscle. We need your engagement."

He also noted that this year, through RxImpact, pharmacy advocates have written nearly three times as many letters to their legislators as they did last year — from 5,000 to 14,000 — with 26 pharmacy tours planned for 2012. Meanwhile, the number of participants in the Day on Capitol Hill has grown from 150 in 2009 to 350 this year. The next RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill is scheduled for March 14 and 15, 2012.

In addition to urging attendees to attend next year’s Day on Capitol Hill, Loeffler also encouraged them to log on to the RxImpact website and urge lawmakers to pass the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act. "This bill includes provisions about transparency, the frequency of updating MAC pricing, networks, audits, use of data and many of the topics that threaten many in this room and the patients we serve," Loeffler said.

"It is a top priority of NACDS to ensure that the health of patients and the wellness of the nation’s healthcare delivery system can benefit from pharmacy services that are accessible by every patient and give every patient choices. And we will take that stand with vigor and with resolve,” Loeffler said.

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FDA approves Pfizer lung cancer drug

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new cancer drug made by Pfizer, the drug maker said.

The FDA approved Pfizer’s Xalkori (crizotinib) capsules, a treatment for patients with non-small cell lung cancer that has advanced locally or spread to other parts of the body, also known as metastasis. The drug specifically is designed to target NSCLC containing the enzyme anaplastic lymphoma kinase, as determined by a companion test also approved by the FDA.

"Overall, lung cancer is responsible for more deaths each year worldwide than any other type of cancer," Pfizer president and CEO Ian Read said. "Xalkori is an advance in the treatment of this devastating illness, providing a new therapeutic option for a subset of patients with the disease."

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Iams Naturals gets a boost with two new products

BY Allison Cerra

MASON, Ohio — Procter & Gamble announced that its Iams pet food brand has launched two new Iams Naturals products.

Iams Naturals, which launched in 2007, now features sensitive naturals and simple and natural formulas, the company said. To mark the launch, Iams has debuted two television commercials to underscore the expansion of the line that feature a "spokesdog" named Spike.

Iams Naturals recipes are available at pet specialty stores, mass retailers and grocers nationwide. For more information, click here.

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