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New Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada created to serve as strong voice for industry

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Looking to serve a strong voice and advocate for Canada’s neighborhood pharmacy as they play an increasingly important role in healthcare is the new Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada.

The association represents the operators of Canada’s approximately 6,500 chain, banner and franchise neighborhood pharmacies, as well as grocery chains and mass merchandisers with pharmacies.
 
“Neighbourhood pharmacy is an essential and increasingly important healthcare service provider, that is enhancing patient outcomes, reducing overall healthcare costs and improving access to care by delivering services closer to where Canadians live, work and play,” stated Neighbourhood Pharmacy’s board chair Frank Scorpiniti, CEO of Rexall.
 
The organization draws strength from Canadians’ strong and increasingly positive view of neighborhood pharmacies. According to a recent national survey, overall favorability has increased to 76.1%, from 68.9% in 2013. Canadians also see pharmacies as being friendly (90.5% agree or somewhat agree) and providing advice that is accessible (89.5%) and affordable (84.2%) — and more Canadians attribute all three of these characteristics to pharmacies in 2014 than in 2013.

Furthermore, neighborhood pharmacy helps save the Canadian healthcare system more than $12.5 billion annually, according to the association, preventing adverse drug reactions, operating an efficient supply chain and by providing innovative drug therapies and lower-cost generic drugs.
 
“Neighbourhood Pharmacy exists to help connect our members with governments and others in healthcare to identify, research and develop proposals that deliver tangible health and economic benefits for Canadians,” stated Denise Carpenter, president and CEO of the association. “Our healthcare delivery system faces significant challenges from rising costs and an aging population. Access to healthcare, closer to home, plays a significant role in driving better patient outcomes and reducing overall healthcare costs.”
 
Neighborhood pharmacies employ approximately 500,000 Canadians in settings ranging from independent retailers to larger chain pharmacies. In 2013, the broader pharmacy industry unveiled “9000 Points of Care,” a policy platform to improve access to affordable healthcare.
 
“Our public policy platform, “9000 Points of Care,” identifies strategies to make better use of the broader pharmacy community’s capabilities. We are poised to work with governments and others in the healthcare community to demonstrate the efficacy of these strategies so that they can be implemented around the country,” added Carpenter.   

In addition to Scorpiniti and Carpenter, Vivek Sood, GM of Sobeys Pharmacy Group, serves as board vice chair. Additional board members include Dorian Lo, EVP pharmacy and healthcare at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix; Genevieve Fortier, SVP human resources, government affairs, corporate communications at McKesson Canada; Charles Milliard, EVP of Uniprix; Eric Muir, SVP, health and wellness at Walmart Canada; John Tse, VP, pharmacy and cosmetics at London Drugs; and Rita Winn, GM and COO at Lovell Drugs.

 
 
 
 
 

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NACDS endorses Senate bill to curb Rx abuse

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has offered its support for new legislation — S. 2862, the Regulatory Transparency, Patient Access, and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014 — which calls for a collaborative, coordinated approach to curbing prescription drug abuse and safeguarding patients.

Introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., the bill would establish a congressionally mandated report from the Department of Health and Human Services, facilitated in consultation with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The report would identify obstacles to legitimate patient access to controlled substances, issues of diversion of these products, and opportunities to better coordinate federal, state and stakeholder activities that can reduce prescription drug abuse without compromising access to medications for patients who legitimately need them. Stakeholders, including pharmacy, will also have an opportunity to provide feedback and recommendations as part of the report process.

“We applaud Senators Hatch and Whitehouse for their leadership in moving forward with this legislation to address one of the most complex public health problems we face,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.  “Problems like drug abuse and meeting patients’ needs merit the highest form of collaboration among experts in government and in the private sector, but the best of intentions do not always provide that.”

This Senate bill largely mirrors the House bill, H.R. 4709, Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014, which was introduced earlier this year by U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee vice chair Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa.  Also backed by NACDS, the House bill passed the House in August.

“NACDS and chain pharmacy are committed to working together with federal and state agencies, law enforcement personnel, policymakers, and other stakeholders to work on viable strategies to simultaneously advance patient health and prevent prescription drug abuse,” stated Anderson.
 

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McKesson donates latex glove supplies to Sierra Leone health workers who are treating Ebola victims

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — McKesson donated four million pairs of latex gloves — enough to meet the entire country of Sierra Leone's needs for the next five months — to World Vision, the wholesaler announced Thursday.
 
Before the government of Sierra Leone institutes a three-day quarantine to contain the spread of Ebola, World Vision will begin a delivery of 200 pallets of medical relief supplies – thanks to private donations. Through World Vision's participation in the World Health Organization's Ebola Task Force, the gloves will be distributed to health workers who often find themselves treating patients without the proper supplies needed to prevent them from contracting Ebola.
 
"I am very thankful that we are in a position to donate these medical supplies at a time when the help is so desperately needed in West Africa," stated Stanton McComb, president, McKesson Medical-Surgical. "At McKesson, we're in the business of delivering better health to our customers and we're proud to partner with a great organization like World Vision to help make a real difference where it matters most."
 
"Health professionals and humanitarian aid workers are in an incredibly challenging and dangerous situation in Sierra Leone," said Leslie Scott, national director of World Vision Sierra Leone. "These medical supplies will support the men and women who are putting their lives on the line to respond to the Ebola crisis."
 
The gloves, and other critical supplies for public health workers, will be shipped to Sierra Leone on a chartered Boeing 747-400 flight that departs New York on Monday, Sept. 22. The supplies will be transported to New York from World Vision's warehouse in Pittsburgh starting today.
 
In August, the Wall Street Journal reported that the toll of the Ebola crisis would be lessened if hospital workers had more access to disposable rubber gloves.
 
McKesson Medical-Surgical's glove donation is part of a shipment of personal protective equipment, or PPE, kits that World Vision is supplying to health workers in Sierra Leone, helping to ensure that those caring for people infected with Ebola – a highly-contagious and deadly virus that kills more than half of those it infects – will themselves be protected.
 
The contents of a PPE kit include:
 
  • Gloves (surgical and examination);
  • Aprons;
  • Goggles or face shields;
  • Masks (high-filtration, surgical and exam);
  • Caps and covers (beard covers, leg covers, shoe covers);
  • Medical frocks;
  • Trousers; and
  • Scrubs.
 
In addition, 8,000 gallons of disinfectant were donated to World Vision and are being shipped with the PPE kits. Several of the items in the PPE kit were donated by Alpha Pro Tech, a manufacturer and distributor of protective apparel and infection control products.
 
Once the supplies arrive in Sierra Leone, World Vision and the country's Emergency Operations Center will collaborate to deliver them to health workers nationwide. In total, World Vision will ship nearly 240,000 pounds of donated medical supplies to Sierra Leone.
 
From Sept. 19 to 21, the government of Sierra Leone is mandating a nationwide three-day quarantine in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
 
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