Obama signs PDUFA reauthorization
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama signed into law Monday what some called a "historic" reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act.
Senate bill 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, passed in a 92-4 vote on June 26. Under the law, starting Oct. 1, the generic drug industry will pay $299 million a year in user fees over the next five years, which will help pay for more FDA staff and help clear a backlog of some 2,500 generic drug applications and more inspections of manufacturers’ production plants. The law also creates a user fee program for companies that make biosimilar drugs.
The new law, which is the fifth reauthorization of PDUFA since 1992, drew applause from a trade group representing generic drug manufacturers.
"Today’s enactment of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act is a remarkable achievement for patients, industry and the FDA," Generic Pharmaceutical Association president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "The historic user fee legislation — the most important pharmaceutical legislation since the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act — will provide FDA with additional resources and ensure all participants in the U.S. generic drug system, whether U.S.-based or foreign, comply with our country’s strict quality standards. Very importantly, the programs will make certain that all Americans receive timely access to safe, effective and affordable generic drugs."
Global report underscores need for seamless shopping across all channels
PARIS — It seems that shoppers worldwide expect a seamless integration across online, social media, mobile and physical stores, according to a new global report released by Capgemini.
"Digital Shopper Relevancy," which surveyed 16,000 digital shoppers across 16 developing and mature markets, found that 60% of respondents said they expect the convergence of retail channels by 2014, while more than half of those surveyed said most retailers currently are inconsistent in the way they present themselves across channels.
Capgemini found shoppers can be distinguished by six unique profiles: social digital shoppers, digital shopaholics, occasional online shoppers, rational online shoppers, value seekers and techno-shy shoppers:
Social digital shoppers (25% of respondents) seek opinions from social media and are users of mobile applications;
Digital shopaholics (18%), the heaviest buyers out of the six segments, demonstrate active use of smartphone apps and in-store technology;
Occasional online shoppers (16%) infrequently shop online but use digital channels primarily for choosing and comparing products and tracking deliveries;
Rational online shoppers (15%) are considered to be the second-most active online shopper segment and prefer to use the Internet during the shopping journey but not social media or mobile apps.
Value seekers are price-sensitive shoppers with little interest in digital shopping and new technologies but shop online primarily to find the best deals on products they know they want; and
Techno-shy shoppers aren’t confident in using digital channels and devices and do not see these as important during any phase of the shopping journey. Value seekers and techno-shy shoppers consist of 13% of respondents each, Capgemini said.
"In today’s complex marketplace, shoppers are in control and retailers need to remain relevant to the digital consumer across the all-channel journey," said Bernard Helders, Capgemini global consumer products and retail sector leader. "The industry should not only seek to understand the technology, they must separate hype from reality and, crucially, commit to cross-channel collaboration to stay profitable in today’s tough economic climate."
Additional key findings from the Capgemini report include:
Websites continues to be the main digital shopping channel for shoppers in both developing and mature countries: 80% of respondents in developing markets said the Internet was "important" or "very important," while 63% in mature markets noted that the Internet was "important" or "very important" to the shopping journey. This is closely followed by e-mail interaction. However, such channels as social media, mobile applications and in-store kiosks are growing in popularity as alternative retail channels;
The number of digital-savvy shoppers increases considerably in developing markets and they tend to "leapfrog" the traditional retail infrastructure adopted by mature markets: 72% of respondents from India and 69% from China state that they purchase more products in a single transaction online than in a physical store, compared with just 31% from the United States;
More than half of the respondents from both developing and mature markets said they expect physical stores for increasing numbers of categories will simply become showrooms to select and order products by 2020;
More than half of those surveyed (56%) are likely to spend more money at a physical store if they had used digital channels to research the product prior to purchase; however, 73% of respondents also expect online prices to be lower than those in physical stores;
There is no "one" digital shopper profile as varied behavioral patterns appear across a number of factors, including age, gender, product category, journey stage and market maturity. The study did highlight that 55% of women shoppers are more engaged when using digital channels, compared with 44% of men; and
(Somewhat) personalized experiences can deliver for retailers: 61% of respondents said they want online stores to remember their personal shopper history to speed up shopping, while only 41% would want to be identified through smartphones when entering a physical store.
"[It] is critical for retailers to identify who is really using these channels and essential in determining where to make digital investments and how to monetize them," Helders said. "The findings of the report are a call to action for retailers and consumer goods companies to adopt a new approach and harness the technology that’s now available."
Click here for the full report.
Kerr Drug promotes Mark Gregory to SVP store operations
RALEIGH, N.C. — Kerr Drug has promoted Mark Gregory to SVP store operations, effectively immediately, the regional retail pharmacy chain said Monday.
Gregory, who was previously VP pharmacy and government affairs, will report directly to president and CEO Anthony Civello. He also is the company’s privacy officer and chairman of its political action committee.
"Mark has extraordinary depth of intellect and experience in every facet of community pharmacy, from educational and legislative issues to operations and administrative policies," Civello said. "He has been a primary voice in the retail pharmacy landscape for decades and has made significant impact at the national level on a multitude of issues."
Gregory was a pharmacist for 11 years when he became manager of pharmacy systems and third-party programs at Pittsburgh-based Thrift Drug Co. He also served briefly in pharmacy operations at Eckerd following that company’s acquisition of Thrift Drug.
He also has served as president of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists and as chairman of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ policy council and is currently chairman of the executive committee of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association.