PHARMACY

New diabetes treatment now available in Europe

BY Alaric DeArment

GENEVA A new treatment for Type 2 diabetes designed to increase patient adherence has become available in Europe.

Merck Serono, a division of Germany-based Merck KGaA, has announced the availability of Glucophage (metformin hydrochloride) in powder form in 500 mg, 850 mg and 1 g strengths in France and the United Kingdom. The powder can be dissolved in water to produce a clear to slightly opalescent solution, the company said. The company said it plans to launch the drug in other European countries in the coming months, pending regulatory approval.

“Adherence to therapy is increasingly being recognized by physicians as a key condition to achieve glycemic control for patients with diabetes,” Merck Serono EVP commercial for Europe Roberto Gradnik said in a statement. “We are pleased to provide this innovative powder formulation of Glucophage to patients seeking a convenient alternative to tablets which may facilitate their adherence to treatment.”

Merck KGaA, based in Darmstadt, Germany, is distinct from Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck & Co.

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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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Antibiotic voluntarily recalled by Ranbaxy

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. All supplies of an antibiotic will be recalled amid concerns that it could cause nausea and vomiting.

Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals announced last week that it would voluntarily recall all lots of the drug Nitrofurantoin (monohydrate and macrocrystals) capsules in the 100-mg strength.

The company said some lots were defective, but decided to recall all lots as a precaution. The company, based in Gurgaon, India, said it is conducting the recall in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration at the retail level. Recalled lots of the drug are unlikely to produce serious adverse effects, Ranbaxy said, but a remote possibility exists of nausea and vomiting. The company said patients using the drug should consult their physicians about alternative medication options.

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