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NCPA names new president, adopts new resolutions

BY Antoinette Alexander

AUSTIN, Texas — The National Community Pharmacists Association, which wrapped up its 116th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition on Wednesday, has announced the appointment of John Sherrer as president of NCPA.

Sherrer co-owns Kenmar Pharmacy and Poole's Pharmacy in Marietta, Ga., and is a partner in several other Georgia pharmacies. Sherrer also owns First Aid of America, an industrial first aid and safety supply company.

"NCPA is fortunate to have a fine president in John Sherrer," stated NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey. "His commitment to and advocacy for independent community pharmacies and their ability to help patients is second to none. He understands the critical role local pharmacists play in America's health care system and both the opportunities and challenges facing these trusted health care professionals."

In addition, the following independent community pharmacy owners were confirmed for the following positions:

Board of Directors
•    President-Elect—Bradley Arthur, Buffalo, N.Y.
•    Chairman—DeAnn Mullins, Lynn Haven, Fla.
•    David Smith, Indiana, Penn.
•    Bill Osborn, Miami, Okla.
•    Brian Caswell, Baxter Springs, Kan.
•    Michele Belcher, Grants Pass, Ore.
•    Hugh Chancy, Hahira, Ga.
•    Immediate Past President—Mark Riley, Little Rock, Ark.

Officers
•    First Vice President—Jeff Carson, San Antonio, Texas
•    Second Vice President—Lea Wolsoncroft, Birmingham, Ala.
•    Third Vice President—Jeff Harrell, Ilwaco, Wash.
•    Fourth Vice President—Kristen Riddle, Conway, Ark.
•    Fifth Vice President—Christian Tadrus, Columbia, Mo.

NCPA also announced that pharmacists approved the following resolutions:

•    To address the problem of exclusionary arrangements between insurance middlemen and select pharmacies by continuing to support legislative and regulatory policies that would allow any willing pharmacy to participate in a Medicare drug plan, including as a "preferred" pharmacy, if the pharmacy accepts the plan's preferred cost-sharing terms and conditions.

•    To oppose any decisions by third-party payers to unilaterally deny, restrict, or limit coverage for pharmacist-prepared, customized compounded medications that are prepared pursuant to the state-regulated practice of compounding.

•    To support efforts on the state and federal levels to improve consumer access to naloxone for opioid drug overdoses and advocate for the expanded role of the pharmacist in the wider distribution of naloxone under protocols approved by state pharmacy and medical boards, as part of a comprehensive campaign to address the prescription drug abuse crisis.

•    To advocate for greater authority for pharmacists to adjust medication quantities or refill schedules (at the patient's direction), to facilitate medication synchronization programs such as Simplify My Meds, to improve patient adherence to their prescribed medication regimen for better health outcomes and lower costs.

•    To work in conjunction with the NCPA Foundation to further support community pharmacists' ability to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, by centralizing resources available; facilitating access to key decision-makers before disaster strikes; and providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to volunteer as first responders for disaster recovery and response initiatives.

Community pharmacists approved the new resolutions and elected NCPA officers during the House of Delegates session held in conjunction with NCPA's 116th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition.

"From patient choice of pharmacy to medication adherence to combating prescription drug abuse, these resolutions address some of the most pressing issues in community pharmacy today," Hoey added. "We are grateful for the contributions and input of NCPA members leading up to and at today's House of Delegates meeting. Member participation is vital for NCPA to continue as an active and effective representative for the community pharmacists it serves."
 

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Actress Debra Messing, Curél partner to support Direct Relief

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — For the second time, Curél skin care, a Kao USA brand, is partnering with charitable organization Direct Relief to offer comfort to some of the most vulnerable women and children of New York City. Actress Debra Messing joined forces with Curél skin care and Direct Relief to distribute packages to those in need this month.

The Curél skin care team donated its new Rough Skin Rescue Smoothing Lotion for inclusion in 500 personal care packages distributed by Direct Relief to a local New York City center, giving the city’s disenfranchised women and families staples that are critical to their health and well being.

“I am so proud to be working with Curél skin care and Direct Relief to deliver personal care packages to homeless women and families in New York City who are in need,” Messing said. “It’s heartbreaking to hear the statistics on how many people are living in this city without access to these essential personal care items that we easily take for granted. I am proud and thrilled to be a part of such an important effort.”

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Pharmaceutical industry committed to finding a solution to Ebola

BY Michael Johnsen

 

NEW YORK — The pharmaceutical industry has committed considerable resources to developing both vaccines and treatments to address the current Ebola crisis. “Protecting patients and their families from the devastating effects of Ebola is a national priority," stated John Castellani, president and CEO for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in speaking to the selection of Ron Klain to manage the U.S. government’s response to preventing the spread of the Ebola virus. "[O]ur industry stands ready to support these efforts by using our resources and expertise to assist patients and their families affected." 
 
Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday announced that it has made a commitment of up to $200 million to accelerate and significantly expand the production of an Ebola vaccine program in development at its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies. The company is closely collaborating with the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as other key stakeholders, governments and public health authorities on the clinical testing, development, production and distribution of the vaccine regimen.
 
The vaccine regimen combines a Janssen preventative vaccine with a vaccine from Bavarian Nordic, a biotechnology company based in Denmark. This combination vaccine regimen has shown promising results in preclinical studies, and is now planned to be tested for safety and immunogenicity in healthy volunteers in Europe, the United States of America and Africa starting in early January. Janssen is targeting production of more than one million doses of the vaccine regimen in 2015, 250,000 of which are expected to be released for broad application in clinical trials by May 2015.
 
“We are urgently working to provide our vaccine expertise, production capabilities, our people and resources to address the Ebola crisis,” stated Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson. “Our innovation model enables us to quickly mobilize our extensive resources to collaborate with health authorities and governments and other experts to help contain this disease, save lives, and protect the health and lives of those at risk."
 
GlaxoSmithKline is also quickly developing an Ebola vaccine. "Development of the vaccine candidate is progressing at an unprecedented rate, with first phase 1 safety trials with the vaccine candidate underway in the U.S., U.K. and Mali, and further trials due to start in the coming weeks," the company stated. "Initial data from the phase 1 trials are expected by the end of the year and if successful, the next phases of the clinical trial programme will begin in early 2015 which will involve the vaccination of thousands of frontline healthcare workers in the three affected countries – Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia."
 
And on Tuesday Tekmira Pharmaceuticals provided an update on its Ebola program. The company is reporting it has commenced limited GMP manufacture of a new therapeutic specifically targeting the Ebola – Guinea variant, which is the viral variant responsible for the Ebola epidemic currently prevalent in West Africa. Supply of this new product will be available in early December, 2014, for potential use by various collaborators. 
 
"The genomic sequence of the Ebola virus responsible for the current outbreak in West Africa has been determined from several viral isolates," the company stated. "[Tekmira] has completed the design of a modified RNAi therapeutic specifically targeting this viral variant, now termed 'Ebola-Guinea.'"
 
The Food and Drug Administration has authorized Tekmira to provide TKM-Ebola for treatment under expanded access protocols to patients with confirmed or suspected Ebola virus infections. The current supply of TKM-Ebola inventory is limited. However, Tekmira intends to continue to provide TKM-Ebola, if requested, to patients with confirmed or suspected Ebola virus infections under this regulatory framework. To date, several patients have been treated with the product and data collected will be provided to the FDA under the Company's Investigational New Drug Application. "We have established a similar framework with Health Canada for the potential use of TKM-Ebola for patients with confirmed or suspected Ebola virus infections," Tekmira added. 
 

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