PHARMACY

NACDS Foundation unveils pharmacy scholarships

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A total of 58 pharmacy school students from 39 colleges and schools of pharmacy have been awarded scholarships by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, the group announced Tuesday.

The scholarships are valued at a total of $190,000. Money to fund the scholarship program comes from NACDS member and associate member companies that support the concept of pharmacy education, and is handed out to each of the nation’s more than 90 schools of pharmacy via a drawing held during the NACDS Annual Meeting each spring.

“As a pharmacist, it is an honor to award these scholarships to deserving pharmacy students,” said NACDS Foundation president Edith Rosato. “These students embody the hopes and dreams of every pharmacist and are a testament to the future health and well-being of patients they will serve."

“Congratulations to the scholarship winners, and thank you to the generous benefactors and supporters of the NACDS Foundation,” Rosato concluded.

Among the 58 winners are eight “exceptional” students receiving “named” scholarships, NACDS said. Those eight scholarships were created to honor distinguished pharmacy leaders and companies “that share the NACDS Foundation’s commitment to education, research and charitable work,” the group said today in a statement.

The eight top winners include:

  • Erin Coughlin of Northeastern University School of Pharmacy, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, and Daniel Salzwedel of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, who each received the Leonard J. DeMino Pharmacy Student scholarships;

  • Gabriella Blyumin of Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy, and Lisa Dertinger of the North Dakota State University College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Sciences, received the Edmond Fougera Scholarships;

  • Thanh-Tam Le of the University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy, and Marisa Sochacki of the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy, received the Taro Research Foundation Scholarships; and

  • Justin Balint of Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, and Tamkeen Quraishi of the University of New England College of Pharmacy, were awarded the Teva Pharmaceuticals Robert J. Bolger scholarships.

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APhA: Pharmacists can be go-to resource during cough-cold-flu season

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Addressing the need for patients to follow good health practices during cough-cold-flu season, the American Pharmacists Association is encouraging consumers to consult with their local pharmacist on ways to maintain well-being.

APhA said that a pharmacist can help patients with such things as:

  • Getting a flu shot — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend all persons ages 6 months or older receive a flu vaccine. The vaccine is available throughout the flu season, or as long as supply lasts;

  • Identifying the differences between a common cold and the flu — A pharmacist can discuss symptoms with patients and offer advice on the best course of action;

  • Suggesting the best over-the-counter medications — By providing a pharmacist with a list of all the medications a consumer currently is taking (and any over-the-counter products he or she has already used) and the results achieved, a pharmacist can assist a patient with what medications (if any) would be most effective; and

  • Offering a recommendation when a healthcare provider should be seen.

Earlier this month, the APhA encouraged consumers to clean out their medicine cabinets and properly dispose of unused or expired medications.

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Sandoz commences mid-stage trial for Rituxan biosimilar

BY Alaric DeArment

HOLZKIRCHEN, Switzerland — Generic drug maker Sandoz has started a mid-stage clinical trial of a monoclonal antibody used to treat cancer and autoimmune disease, the company said.

Sandoz (pronounced “SAN-doh”), the generics arm of Swiss drug maker Novartis, announced the start of a phase-2 trial of rituximab, a biosimilar of Genentech’s Rituxan, used to treat such conditions as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis.

The company said it had developed a high-yield and large-scale production process for rituximab at its factory in Schaftenau, Austria.

“This key development milestone demonstrates that Sandoz, the pioneer in biosimilars, is on track to maintain its global leadership in the medium to long term,” Sandoz global head Jeff George said.

Indeed, while Sandoz has made biosimilars for the European market for years, alongside such companies as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Hospira, biosimilars largely have been limited to interferons and such drugs as Omnitrope (somatropin [rDNA origin]), a biosimilar of Pfizer’s growth disorder treatment, Genotropin. Biosimilar monoclonal antibodies are a much newer development, and analysts have said it could take years before they begin hitting the market in large numbers.

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