HEALTH

NCPA taps former GPhA chief Jaeger to succeed Bruce Roberts as next CEO

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a highly anticipated move to new leadership, the National Community Pharmacists Association has named pharmacist, attorney and generic drug industry advocate Kathleen Jaeger as its new chief executive. Jaeger, who for the past eight years was president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, succeeds Bruce Roberts, who retired as head of the NCPA in June.

Jaeger’s appointment is effective Nov. 1. Her selection to head the independent pharmacy industry’s top national trade association was announced Sunday by NCPA president Joseph Harmison at the organization’s 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in Philadelphia.

Assuming command of the NCPA in the wake of Roberts’ retirement, Jaeger will have big shoes to fill, given the passion, energy and effectiveness her predecessor brought to the post. But she comes highly prepared: At the GPhA, Jaeger brought a significantly higher level of visibility to the generic industry, along with closer ties with Congress and such federal agencies as the Food and Drug Administration, which paid off in a series of legislative and regulatory victories.

Jaeger also brought a more sophisticated approach to communications and healthcare advocacy on behalf of generic manufacturers, “transforming the association into a powerful voice for the generic industry, developing aggressive and effective public policy, advocacy and communications programs,” the NCPA noted.

“Kathleen brings to NCPA a demonstrated track record of successful advocacy, along with a first-hand pharmacy background,” Harmison said at the conference. “Kathleen’s knowledge of the pharmacy industry and proven Washington expertise make her a perfect fit for NCPA.”

Lonny Wilson, who chairs the NCPA’s executive committee and serves as CEO of Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma, also praised the group’s new top executive. Jaeger, he asserted, “has the experience, vision and leadership capabilities to take this well-positioned association and guide it to an even brighter future to better serve community pharmacists and their patients.”

For her part, Jaeger said she was “absolutely honored to join NCPA and represent independent community pharmacists and the patients we care for each day. “As the daughter of an independent community pharmacist, and as a pharmacist myself, I understand the critical and growing role neighborhood pharmacies play in our healthcare system, as well as the challenges they face,” she said. “Every day, millions of Americans depend on community pharmacists for quality medicines and expert counseling to feel better and lead more productive lives. We need to ensure that independent community pharmacists are indispensible to America’s healthcare system today, tomorrow and beyond.”

Jaeger’s departure from GPhA followed by several months the enactment of the massive health-reform bill. Among other changes, the new law created a regulatory approval pathway at the FDA for biosimilars, fulfilling a long-sought goal for GPhA and its CEO. That legislative victory came at a price, however: It gave innovator biotech companies 12 years’ data exclusivity in which to market their drugs before the FDA could approve a biosimilar version, rather than the five-year period sought by Jaeger and the generic industry.

Prior to leading the GPhA, Jaeger chaired the food and drug practice for the McKenna and Cuneo law firm and, later, Kirkpatrick and Lockhart. She earned a Juris doctorate from Catholic University and a bachelors in science in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island.

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Diabetes prevalence among Americans may increase to 33%, CDC study finds

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA The rate of diabetes among Americans is on an upswing and likely will reach epic proportions by 2050, costing the government millions.

 

Anew study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in Population Health Metrics found that annual diagnosed diabetes incidence (new cases) will increase from about eight cases per 1,000 people in 2008 to about 15 in 2050. The authors also projected that — assuming low incidence and relatively high diabetes mortality — total diabetes prevalence (diagnosed and undiagnosed cases) is projected to increase from 14% in 2010 to 21% of the U.S. adult population by 2050, but noted that  if recent increases in diabetes incidence continue and diabetes mortality is relatively low, prevalence will increase to 33% by 2050.

 

In 2007, diabetes cost the United States in excess of $174 billion. With the increased prevalence of diabetes in the country, the CDC suggested that the projected loss in quality of life and the projected costs of providing health care could be significant, as the healthcare costs of a person with diagnosed diabetes are approximately 2.3 times higher than nondiabetics, the authors noted.

"These are alarming numbers that show how critical it is to change the course of Type 2 diabetes," said Ann Albright, director of CDC’s division of diabetes translation. "Successful programs to improve lifestyle choices on healthy eating and physical activity must be made more widely available, because the stakes are too high and the personal toll too devastating to fail."

The authors also noted that intervention can reduce, but not eliminate, increases in diabetes prevalence.

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AP poll finds Americans evenly divided on impact, benefits of health-reform law

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON Seven months after President Obama signed the massive health-reform bill into law, Americans remain deeply divided over the controversial overhaul and its potential benefits, a new poll from the Associated Press and the GfK Group revealed.

 

In a mid-October survey of 1,501 adults, AP-Gfk found the nation evenly split over whether the law should be overturned or made even stronger. But also significant is the fact that only 15% of Americans would leave the health-reform law — thus far the key legislative accomplishment of the Obama administration — as it currently stands.

 

 

Among the 846 poll respondents who said they likely would vote in the November congressional elections, 37% said the law should be completely repealed, according to AP. Not surprisingly, opposition among Tea Party supporters was strongest, with more than 70% of respondents who describe themselves as Tea Party enthusiasts saying they would scrap health reform.

 

 

Despite the opposition, 36% of those polled had a very different view, telling surveyors “they want to revise the law so it does more to change the healthcare system,” the news service reported Friday. That means “Tea Party enthusiasm for repeal has failed to catch on with other groups,” according to AP, “which may be a problem for Republicans vowing to strike down Obama’s signature accomplishment if they gain control of Congress in the Nov. 2 elections.”

 

 

Among the top concerns about the new law expressed by survey respondents: a requirement that most Americans carry some type of public or private health insurance, beginning in 2014. Some told researchers the law does little to address rising health spending.

 

Older Americans also expressed concern over the plan to help fund the health overhaul in part by cutting spending for Medicare. Some poll respondents also asserted the need for a public-health plan option to compete with private insurers and to help hold down costs, a plan that was eliminated from the original bill before its passage in Congress.

 

Support for health reform is strongest among women and younger voters, according to AP.

 

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