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NACDS expresses position on two drug safety bills

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As Congress considers measures to protect the nation’s prescription drug distribution system, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Wednesday voiced its strong opposition to a piece of legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, which would require a mandatory track-and-trace system — a move that could cost the typical pharmacy chain millions of dollars to implement across all stores.

In a letter to Rep. Matheson, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson expressed the industry’s opposition to his proposed Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act of 2011 (H.R. 3026).

“While the National Association of Chain Drug Stores salutes your commitment to the safety and security of the prescription drug supply chain, I must express our objections to the portions of your legislation that call for a system of tracking and tracing prescription drugs,” Anderson stated in the letter to Matheson. “Requiring pharmacists to adopt immature technologies will distract them with complex compliance issues, taking time away from providing services to patients.  There is also a great likelihood that track and trace would actually slow down the movement of prescription drugs — especially with labor intensive ‘line of sight’ technologies, such as ‘two-dimensional bar codes,’” Anderson wrote.

According to NACDS, the estimated cost to implement an electronic track and trace system could run as high as $110,000 per location.

Anderson did say, however, that NACDS did commend provisions that were designed to help ensure the safety and security of the prescription drug distribution system including: authorizing the destruction of drugs that have been offered for importation into the United States, or deemed to be counterfeit, adulterated or misbranded; and strengthening federal guidelines for licensure of wholesale distributors to “achieve national uniformity rather than a patchwork of state requirements.”

In related news, NACDS threw its support behind a competing bill in the Senate, The Drug Safety and Accountability Act of 2011 (S.1584), which was sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet, R-Colo. Anderson said that NACDS supported Bennet’s bill, as "the provisions that will establish drug manufacturer quality management plans for the drug, as well as the active ingredients and materials used to manufacture the drugs, and the requirements for audits, monitoring and testing as part of the plans," he said. The organization also expressed support for the bill’s provision that would stop distribution of a drug by manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers where the risk of serious, adverse health consequences or death exists.

However, NACDS did express concerns about notification of pharmacies when such a situation occurs.

"The language does not mention community pharmacies in the provision for immediate notification," Anderson wrote. "We also have questions about how this would impact patients for whom the drug has been prescribed. We respectfully ask that consideration be given to the impact on patients’ drug treatment regimens and the patients’ likely need for alternate therapy. Pharmacies as the most accessible healthcare provider will be at the forefront of assisting patients and their prescriber with addressing alternate therapy."


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Rite Aid sponsors flu vaccinations at Grand Central Terminal

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Rite Aid kicked off its "Rite Aid Shield Yourself, New York" event Wednesday morning at New York’s Grand Central Terminal, offering flu vaccinations delivered by Rite Aid pharmacists to the thousands of commuters passing through the Midtown Manhattan train station.

The retail pharmacy chain is co-sponsoring the event with Tuesday’s Children, a charity set up to benefit the families of 9/11 victims and first responders, and chairman David Weild showed up to spur New Yorkers into getting vaccinated by getting a shot himself. It was slightly awkward at first, as the French cuffs on Weild’s shirt made it difficult to roll up his sleeves, but Rite Aid clinical pharmacist Erik Groves — who said he had already performed about 8,000 vaccinations throughout his career — quickly administered the shot.

"We’d encourage everyone to go out and get a flu shot from Rite Aid," Weild told Drug Store News. "Bringing together organizations that care about the well-being of children is just a terrific fit."

For each vaccination administered, Rite Aid is donating $3 to the Tuesday’s Children. It also is handing out donation tickets that people can use to make $3 donations to the organization when they get a vaccination at a Rite Aid store.

"I’m just absolutely delighted to have a major retail pharmacy chain corporate sponsor," Weild said. "I’d like to see lots of people come out and get their flu shots — millions. Let’s try and get the whole United States population vaccinated at Rite Aid."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated against influenza, but according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, only 27% of city residents are vaccinated in time for the start of the flu season, and more than 2,000 New Yorkers die every year from flu and pneumonia.


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NACDS Foundation provides funds to 12 colleges through Community PREP grant program

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The charitable arm of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced 12 academic institutions have received funding to expand community pharmacy residencies for recent pharmacy school graduates.

The NACDS Foundation said that the following schools received funding for the Community Pharmacy Residency Expansion Project:

  • Concordia University;

  • Creighton University;

  • Ferris State University;

  • Midwestern University (Glendale);

  • The Ohio State University;

  • St. Louis College of Pharmacy;

  • SUNY Buffalo;

  • University of Charleston;

  • University of Kansas;

  • University of Kentucky;

  • University of Puerto Rico; and

  • University of Southern California.

Each of these academic institutions will receive a $50,000 residency grant.

“The Community PREP grant program was developed to provide expanded opportunities for pharmacy school graduates to pursue community pharmacy residencies and hone their skills in providing patient care services,” said NACDS Foundation president Edith Rosato said. “I commend these 12 institutions for their patient-focused residency programs which help cultivate pharmacy graduates’ abilities to provide innovation in the delivery of patient care services, for the ultimate advancement of public health.”

Back in May, the NACDS Foundation announced grants to Purdue University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of North Carolina.

Fifteen additional awards will be granted in 2012. For more information, click here.


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