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NACDS stresses community pharmacy commitment to safe U.S. Rx supply chain

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — In lead-up to a House Panel hearing on Thursday, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores submitted a statement expressing its support for the leadership and efforts of Congress and the Food and Drug Administration in taking common-sense approaches in safeguarding the process of delivering prescription medications to patients.

The hearing is being held by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee titled, “Budget Hearing — Food and Drug Administration.”

In its statement, NACDS cited pharmacy’s work to help shape the Drug Quality and Security Act, its ongoing advocacy and engagement in the implementation of the new law, and its long-term efforts to safeguard the drug distribution supply chain.

“Chain pharmacies wholeheartedly support efforts to secure the U.S. drug distribution supply chain. They have invested significant resources and efforts toward this goal over many years, including changes in their purchasing practices, and actively supporting state legislation that strengthened supply chain integrity,” NACDS said in its statement.

NACDS also stressed the need to address the problem of illegitimate Internet drug sellers to help protect U.S. consumers from counterfeit and adulterated medications, and recognized FDA’s efforts to educate consumers and healthcare providers about the risks of illegal online drug sellers.

“We support targeting illegal Internet drug sellers through the chokepoint approach. Under this approach, Internet service entities and companies — such as domain name registrars that issue websites, financial entities that handle payment transactions for online sales, Internet Service Providers that provide information from the Internet and common carriers that provide the mailing services — would have authority to stop illicit transactions at their point of interaction with these bad actors,” NACDS said in its statement.

NACDS also urged Congress and the FDA to provide an Internet portal so that consumers and healthcare providers would have the ability to check if an online website offering to sell medications is legitimate.

In its statement, the association urged Congress to provide the FDA with requisite funding necessary to establish an abbreviated approval pathway for biosimilars and interchangeable versions of biological products.

“For the benefit of the patients we serve, we have urged the agency to make establishing this pathway among its highest priorities. Increasing generic drug utilization is one of the most effective ways to control healthcare costs,” NACDS said in its statement.

“We believe that the U.S. supply chain is one of the safest, if not the safest, in the world. The strength and commitment of chain pharmacies and other U.S. supply chain stakeholders are key components in helping achieve this security,” NACDS said in its statement.

 

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PANTHERx wins exclusive contract for the South Carolina ADAP

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — PANTHERx Specialty Pharmacy on Thursday announced that it has been awarded the exclusive contract to serve as the specialty pharmacy provider for the South Carolina AIDS Drug Assistance Program Direct Dispensing service tier, effective June 1, 2014. 

As an ADAP provider, PANTHERx Specialty will help to facilitate no-cost access to essential medications for low-income, uninsured and under-insured residents of South Carolina, utilizing a combination of state and federal funds. The South Carolina ADAP serves approximately 3,200 enrollees monthly.

"PANTHERx Specialty will initiate outreach to welcome all current ADAP patients and prescribers and to notify them of the transition of services, including how to access the myPANTHERx online portal to help manage refills," saidy Rob Snyder, PANTHERx director operations. 

In addition, the online home of PANTHERx Specialty, PantherSpecialty.com, has been relaunched to enhance the patient and prescriber experience, the company reported.

 

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CDC: Flu vaccine reduces a child’s risk of flu-related intensive care hospitalization by 74%

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Getting a flu vaccine reduces a child’s risk of flu-related intensive care hospitalization by 74%, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published Thursday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The study is the first to estimate vaccine effectiveness against flu admissions to pediatric intensive care units. It illustrates the important protection flu vaccine can provide to children against more serious flu outcomes. CDC recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, and especially for children at high risk of serious flu-related complications.

“These study results underscore the importance of an annual flu vaccination, which can keep your child from ending up in the intensive care unit,” said Alicia Fry, a medical officer in the CDC’s influenza division. “It is extremely important that all children — especially children at high risk of flu complications — are protected from what can be a life-threatening illness."

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