PHARMACY

New details emerge on NACDS realignment

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Monday revealed further details of a sweeping management realignment and staff reduction. The announcement followed the organization’s first revelation on Thursday, April 30, that it was undertaking a streamlining and consolidation to shed operating costs in a difficult economy, and to respond more effectively to member needs in a shifting political and healthcare environment.

The overhaul includes the consolidation of some departments and a reduction of 15 filled full-time positions, from 92 to 77, or 16%.

Among the NACDS staff members leaving under the reorganization are Fitz Elder, VP of member relations and chief member relations officer; Phil Schneider, VP external relations and president of the NACDS Foundation; and membership coordinator Conchi Vallecillo. All three are taking voluntary retirement, NACDS revealed, and their positions “will not be refilled.”

A dozen other staff members are also headed for the exits, and their positions are being eliminated, according to the organization. They include Kate Crummett, manager of meetings and special events; senior graphic designer Kerrin Cuison; director of technology standards Michele Davidson; IT support specialist David Dorsey and Dan Faoro, VP communications production and strategic marketing.

Also leaving are Resource Center coordinator Marcy Gascoine; Ashley Matthews, coordinator of conference services and exhibits; membership coordinator Teresa Muldrow; Steve Poston, director of IT and facility services; web/database applications specialist Bikrum Saluja, director of policy and programs Christina Thompson; and Lisa White, manager of meetings and international affairs.

On Thursday, NACDS termed the staff cutbacks “very difficult” but necessary in the current economic downturn. The changes, noted the group, are “part of a comprehensive, multi-year plan to refocus and realign…activities and programs” to make NACDS more responsive to its members’ goals and current market realities.

In line with the streamlining effort, NACDS has grouped its 77-member team and its activities under six senior executives, all of who report to president and CEO Steven Anderson. They include:

  • Finance and Accounting, human resources and administration and information services, headed by EVP and CFO Jim Huber;
  • Membership, meetings and exhibits and international affairs, under the direction of Jim Whitman, SVP meetings and exhibits;
  • Federal and state policy and programs, headed by Carol Kelly, SVP government affairs and public policy;
  • Legal affairs, under SVP legal affairs and general counsel Don Bell;
  • Pharmacy affairs, pharmacy education and the NACDS Foundation, headed by Edith Rosato, SVP pharmacy affairs;
  • Media relations, member communications and Internet activities, under Chris Krese, SVP marketing, communications and media relations.

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Investigational oxycodone formulation may discourage drug abusers

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW ORLEANS Two drug companies may have developed a formulation of the painkiller oxycodone that discourages drug abusers.

King Pharmaceuticals and Acura Pharmaceuticals announced Friday that results from an oral abuse liability study of the drug Acurox (oxycodone hydrochloride and niacin) tablets indicate they are disliked among people with a history of opioid abuse, compared with oxycodone tablets alone when they swallow excess doses.

“The fact that people with a history of opioid abuse showed a disliking of Acurox tablets in excessive doses is an indication that the product is an important step in the development of medicines that are designed to deter common methods of abuse, such as over ingestion, while effectively managing pain,” lead study author and chief of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s Center for Chemical Dependence Donald Jasinski said.

Results of the study were presented Friday at the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Medical-Scientific Conference.

The two companies said the Food and Drug Administration had given Acurox priority review classification, and they expect to get a response from the FDA by June 30.

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Amylin issues letter to shareholders regarding board of directors

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO Drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals is urging shareholders to reject prospective members of its board nominated by investor Carl Icahn and Eastbourne Capital Management.

Amylin sent a letter to shareholders Friday, signed by president and CEO Daniel Bradbury and lead independent director James Wilson, requesting that they instead vote for the company’s current board, saying the company was “poised to revolutionize” Type 2 diabetes treatment with the once-weekly formulation of the drug Byetta (exenatide), currently awaiting approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA approved the twice-daily formulation of the drug in 2005.

“To ensure that you benefit from this value opportunity, it is imperative that Amylin has the best possible board of directors,” Bradbury and Wilson wrote in the letter.

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