NMQF honors PhRMA chief for increasing diversity in clinical trials
WASHINGTON – The National Minority Quality Forum on Tuesday honored John Castellani, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, for his demonstrated leadership to increase diversity in clinical trials. On behalf of PhRMA, and in conjunction with NMQF, Castellani spearheaded the “I’m In” campaign to build awareness, start conversations, and increase diversity in clinical trials, especially among African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic populations.
“Through his remarkable leadership in ensuring safety and efficacy testing for new drugs include minority Americans who have traditionally been underrepresented in clinical trials, John Castellani is paving the way for the nation to develop a set of comprehensive guidelines that will, for the first time, reflect the diverse population for whom they serve,” said Gary Puckrein, president and CEO of NMQF.
When a potential new medicine is developed, researchers must prove safety and effectiveness through clinical trials before the medicine is approved by regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration. Traditionally, individuals volunteer for clinical trials at the behest of their physicians, but physician referrals alone are often insufficient to attract a large and diverse group of volunteers.
“Despite making up 13% of the U.S. population, African Americans only represent about 5% of clinical trial participants, and Hispanics, who comprise 17% of the U.S., account for a mere 1% of participants,” added Puckrein. “A wide variety of clinical trial participants is critical to adequately assessing whether or not a drug is safe and effective on different populations, and John Castellani is the first person to truly work towards turning the tide on this risky practice.”
The “I’m In” campaign, conceptualized by John Castellani and co-founded by PhRMA and NMQF in March 2014, was created to bridge this awareness gap and encourage minority Americans to participate in clinical trials.
“Only once we include all members of our society in the testing phase of new medicines can we hope to effectively connect patients with the medicines they need, and John Castellani has planted the seed that will get us there,” said Puckrein.
Puckrein will present the award to Castellani at the 2015 Leadership Awards Dinner, the culmination of the NMQF Leadership Summit, which was held from April 20-21 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here. Organized by NMQF and the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, the dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern with host John Brockington, founder of The John Brockington Foundation, and will feature welcome addresses by Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, and Puckrein. The keynote address will be delivered by Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.
Haggen names pharmacy team for rapidly expanding operation
BELLINGHAM, Wash. — As West Coast regional grocer Haggen acquires and converts stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona during the first half of 2015, its pharmacy business is growing from 17 pharmacies to 106 pharmacies, the company reported Monday. To support this growth, Haggen is expanding its pharmacy management staff from six to 28 to manage the 470 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who will make up the Haggen Pharmacy team.
As Haggen continues its unprecedented 146 store acquisitions across five states, the pharmacies are committed to minimizing any downtime during the intense 40-hour-plus store conversions. The pharmacy conversion team at each store works diligently from the 6 p.m. store closing time to 11 a.m. the next morning to ensure the current pharmacy guests and future Haggen guests have access to their prescription medications while the rest of the store is closed for the conversion.
"We want to make this transition a seamless experience for both our guests and our associates,” stated Guy DiPasqua, corporate SVP, pharmacy of Haggen. “While we’re making a lot of changes behind the scenes to our pharmacy management and point of sale systems, our pharmacies are staffed by the same great pharmacy associates who deliver the same great level of care. We hope our service and care will keep shoppers returning to their new neighborhood pharmacy at Haggen,” he said.
“Haggen prides itself on providing genuine and caring service, a commitment that is evident in our associates’ resilience and adaptability through the conversion process. After 17 hours, we open a freshly painted, new Haggen Pharmacy with the same great team, a completely new Pharmacy Management system, and many new best practices and routines to be executed," DiPasqua added. "Even while the store is undergoing its own makeover, our pharmacists are ready to fill our guests’ prescriptions on day one. It’s been a great, team process.”
The Haggen pharmacy business will continue to be led by DiPasqua, who joined Haggen in 2012 after 25 years at Albertsons and six years at Target. DiPasqua will lead two division VPs, Mike Arndorfer, promoted from his director of pharmacy position and Stewart Edington, who joined Haggen in March 2015.
Arndorfer will oversee the Pacific Northwest division, which includes 53 pharmacies in Washington and Oregon. Arndorfer brings a great deal of pharmacy experience to Haggen, having served in a number of store- and management-level positions in Community Pharmacy as well as director-level positions with Amber Specialty Pharmacy in Omaha and Harrison Memorial Hospital in Kentucky, prior to joining Haggen as director of pharmacy.
Edington will be responsible for the 53 pharmacies in the Pacific Southwest which includes California, Arizona and Nevada. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, Edington moved to the United States 13 years ago with his wife and three children to work for Albertsons. Edington served in a variety of roles there ultimately rising to VP pharmacy for Albertsons LLC from June 2011 through the end of 2013, leaving the Company to own and operate Jupiter Compounding in Jupiter, Fla.
Both Arndorfer and Edington are building out their regional teams, with each hiring two regional pharmacy managers. In the Pacific Northwest, Schontel Delaney will oversee the 36 pharmacies located in the state of Washington. She worked for Albertsons Savon Pharmacy for 18 years, starting as a pharmacy technician. She has been a pharmacist since completing pharmacy school in 2007.
Haggen is filling positions for the additional regional pharmacy manager positions, seven pharmacy operations specialist jobs and other support positions within the pharmacy team.
To date, 38 pharmacies have been converted to Haggen Pharmacies.
New PhRMA industry profile reports 7,000 medicines currently in development
WASHINGTON – Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s member companies invested an estimated $51.2 billion last year in the research and development of new innovative treatments and cures, the association announced Monday. The figure represents the majority of all biopharmaceutical R&D spending – both public and private – in the United States.
The new R&D numbers, the result of a recent survey of PhRMA member companies, are highlighted in the newly released PhRMA 2015 Biopharmaceutical Research Industry Profile as well as a new industry chart pack, Biopharmaceuticals in Perspective.
Despite ongoing economic challenges, the biopharmaceutical industry continues to be one of America’s most research-intensive industries. According to a recent analysis from ndp│analytics, the biopharmaceutical industry leads the manufacturing sector in innovation and economic contributions. Biopharmaceutical companies on average invest as much as six times more in R&D, relative to their sales, than the average U.S. manufacturing firm. In 2014, PhRMA member companies invested nearly 24% of domestic sales into R&D.
“What the Industry Profile tells us – unequivocally – is that the commitment of America’s biopharmaceutical companies to solving the world’s most vexing medical challenges has never been more resolute,” stated John Castellani, president and CEO, PhRMA. “Our companies are tireless in their efforts to develop new innovative, life-saving medicines for patients – and these numbers are proof of that determination in action.”
The industry’s ongoing commitment to R&D was evident in the record number of 51 new medicines brought to U.S. patients last year. Forty-one of those approvals were by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and 10 medicines were approved by FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Among the CDER approvals, 41% were identified as first-in-class treatments – meaning they use a completely new approach to fighting a disease – and more than 20% were personalized medicines.
The industry’s pledge to R&D is further evidenced by the robust biopharmaceutical pipeline; more than 7,000 medicines are in development globally. A 2012 analysis of the biopharmaceutical pipeline revealed 70% of medicines are potential first-in-class treatments.
The road to bringing a new FDA-approved medicine to market is a long and formidable one, however, the association noted. Only 12% of drug candidates that enter clinical testing are eventually approved for use by patients. On average, it takes at least 10 years and more than $2.6 billion to bring a new medicine from the research pipeline to patients.
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