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NACDS Foundation raises almost $2 million at charity event

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation celebrated its 17th Annual Foundation Dinner, raising $1.9 million, which will continue to fuel the Foundation’s patient-centered care research agenda.  
 
Hy-Vee was the premier sponsor of the event, headlining more than 87 companies from a diverse range of industries that sponsored the event.  
 
The evening’s program emphasized the research portfolio of the NACDS Foundation, including: strategies to prevent hospital readmissions by improving patients’ understanding of their medications; use of medication management in emerging healthcare models, such as accountable care organizations and medical homes, to improve patient outcomes; and efforts to improve the detection and treatment of flu and strep. 
 
Megyn Kelly, the high-profile media personality and anchor of Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File,” shared her views on national and world events, and compelling experiences as a journalist in her keynote address with attendees. 
 
The NACDS Foundation Dinner program also included recognition of outstanding contributions in advancing public health by Ali Khan, retired Assistant Surgeon General and current dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Khan received the 2015 NACDS Foundation Excellence in Patient Care Award for his commitment to health security, global health, community health and emerging infectious diseases.  
 
During Kahn’s 23-year career as a senior director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he led and responded to numerous high profile domestic and international public health emergencies, including Ebola hemorrhagic fever, avian influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome. He was also one of the main architects of the CDC’s public health bioterrorism preparedness program.  
 
“We are pleased to recognize Dr. Khan’s distinguished career in advancing public health as the recipient of the NACDS Foundation Excellence in Patient Care Award,” said NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger. “Known as one of the main architects of the CDC’s public health bioterrorism preparedness program, his commitment to patient care is extraordinary. We are grateful for his continued service in educating future leaders in public health.” 
 
Concluding the dinner last evening, Jaeger said, “Without the generous support of its benefactors, the NACDS Foundation could not continue our mission of engaging in research and education to benefit patients, improve outcomes and help advance public health. We are deeply grateful for your continued commitment to and engagement with the work of the NACDS Foundation.”
 
 
 
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Giant Eagle overhauls IT infrastructure with IBM Cloud solution

BY Michael Johnsen

ARMONK, N.Y. – IBM on Friday announced that Giant Eagle, one of the nation's largest privately held multi-format food, fuel and pharmacy retailers with locations across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana, is in the initial stages of overhauling its IT infrastructure with a hybrid cloud solution from IBM Cloud.
 
The new solution, based on IBM Cloud’s Infrastructure as a Service, SoftLayer, is designed to provide Giant Eagle flexible, consumption-based pricing, as well as faster procurement and provisioning of applications, and integrated system management for greater visibility into data from everything from the supply chain to the check-out line.
 
“Our goals to reposition our technology infrastructure were to achieve the scalability, security, reliability, resiliency and efficiency that the advancements in the technology are making possible without making significant capital investments,” stated Jeremy Gill, senior director of technology infrastructure at Giant Eagle. “IBM’s full range of offerings from public cloud, private cloud and bare metal and robust security capabilities were their competitive differentiators.”
 
Giant Eagle is currently in phase one of its rollout, which includes the deployment of the development/test and disaster recovery environments. Phase two will include migrating its production IT operations to IBM.
 
“Companies that succeed for as long as Giant Eagle have done so because they understand the value of adopting innovation,” said Jim Comfort, general manager, IBM Cloud. “For Giant Eagle, the move to an IBM hybrid cloud is just the latest example of its foresight and it will serve as the next strategic move in the company’s digital transformation.”
 
 
 
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GPhA speaks out on generics labeling, access

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON  — This week, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association released statements related to the current state of generics, specifically proposed changes to rules regulating labels on generic drugs from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as steps it believe lawmakers should take to ensure affordable medication access for Americans. 
 
When it comes to accessibility, the organization recommended that lawmakers should encourage the FDA to review the approximately 3,800 generic drug applications awaiting action in a timely manner. GPhA also recommended wider use of generics among low-income Medicare beneficiaries, which it estimates could save $17.7 billion over the course of 10 years.
 
The organization also recommended passing the FAST Generics Act, which it says will keep drug companies from using Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies to keep generics from hitting the market, and called for a repeal of a Medicaid rebate increase for generic drugs included in this year’s budget agreement. 
 
The organization’s president and CEO, Chip Davis, discussed regulations concerning labeling of generics, as the organization says currently, branded and generic drugs have the same label, but a proposed change to generic labeling requirements would require manufacturers to update labels without first getting FDA approval. As a result, GPhA has proposed the Expedited Agency Review (EAR), which relies on the FDA to review new safety information and take action on label changes. 
 
“The FDA is the only entity with all of the data needed to recommend a safety information change,” David said. “Instead, the EAR suggests time parameters for the FDA to take action and encourages the adoption of e-labeling for real time information sharing rather than continuing the reliance on paper label changes that take months or years to adopt. The EAR also takes important steps to make sure that multiple different labels do not exist for products with the same active ingredients, safety and efficacy.”
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