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Online Rx bill’s enactment caps pharmacy lobby trifecta

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. —Capping what chain pharmacy leaders are calling a trifecta of victories in Congress on priority legislation for the industry, Pres. Bush has signed into law a bill to crack down on rogue online pharmacies.

The bill, known as the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act, or H.R. 6353, will clamp down on the illegal sale, abuse and trafficking of prescription drugs over the Internet. It would require a valid prescription for the purchase or distribution of any prescription drug over the Internet, issued by a prescribing physician or other qualified professional who has personally examined the patient. However, the bill exempts remote-site pharmacies that operate under approved “telemedicine” procedures.

Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, hailed Bush’s embrace of H.R. 6353. “Illegal online ‘pharmacies’ encourage prescription drug abuse and prey on individuals by offering medications without a valid prescription,” Anderson said Oct. 16, following the bill’s enactment. “These ‘rogue’ Web sites threaten the health of consumers and tarnish the reputation of legitimate online commerce.

“The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act provides for tough penalties and stronger enforcement against these scofflaws,” he added. “NACDS members operate legitimate, state-licensed pharmacies, many of which have an associated and branded Internet Web site that offers customers the convenience of contacting their pharmacy via the Internet for medication and healthcare needs.

“H.R. 6353 recognizes these legitimate operations and would not interfere with the important services and products that our members offer online. We applaud Congress and Pres. Bush for taking action to stop these dangerous rogue Web sites and protect the safety of consumers.”

Michele Leonhart, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, also praised the bill’s elevation into law. “This landmark piece of legislation will bring rogue pharmacy operators out of the shadows by establishing a clear standard for legitimate online pharmaceutical sales,” she said. “The legislation will allow customers to know they are doing business with a trusted, legitimate pharmacy and give law enforcement the tools we need to identify illegitimate online pharmacies.”

Added Stephen Giroux, president of the National Community Pharmacists Association and an independent pharmacy owner in upstate New York, “There are just some services that should not be available online. This legislation to clamp down on illegal online operators is the first step in the right direction.”

The enactment of the online pharmacy bill capped a string of victories for retail pharmacy advocates. In recent weeks, Bush also signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, which includes an important provision to preserve pharmacy choice for military members and their families enrolled in the TRICARE health program. The White House also approved the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act, toughening controls over illegal methamphetamine production with new electronic logbook procedures to provide law enforcement with easier access to information and streamlining record-keeping requirements for pharmacies.

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Alimentary Health signs licensing agreement with P&G Pet Care

BY DSN STAFF

CORK, Ireland Alimentary Health on Wednesday announced that it has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with P&G Pet Care, makers of two of the worlds leading companion animal pet care products, Iams and Eukanuba.

Under the licensing agreement, Alimentary Health’s and P&G’s proprietary pet care probiotics will be used in P&G Pet Care’s nutritional supplement products. The global market for companion animal pet care products was estimated to be over $40 billion in 2007. Alimentary Health will receive an undisclosed royalty on sales of all products containing the pet care probiotics.

In 2001, Alimentary Health partnered with P&G to develop safe and effective probiotic products for gastrointestinal indications. In 2007, P&G Health Care started using Alimentary Health’s natural probiotic strain Bifidobacterium Infantis 35624, in Align in the US. Align is a daily probiotic supplement that helps build and maintain a strong and healthy digestive system.

“Today’s announcement comes as a result of our continued successful collaboration with P&G,” Barry Kiely, chief executive officer of Alimentary Health, said. “We are please that our ongoing efforts have once again resulted in Alimentary Health’s technology making it to the marketplace. This agreement is a result of a successful research and development program between the two companies and it brings us closer to fulfilling our vision of becoming the worldwide leader in the research, discovery and clinical development of probiotics. We are proud of our long standing association with such a leading multi-national company.”

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Kmart holds GoldK Day health services, screening day for seniors

BY Antoinette Alexander

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Kmart, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holding Corp., has announced that its pharmacy division will hold the annual GoldK Day on Nov. 18 for seniors.

“Kmart wants to remind seniors that we care about their health and GoldK Day is a way for our pharmacists to give back to these important customers by not only offering free screenings, but assistance with Medicare health plan selection and information about disease states, which can help seniors make better decisions about their healthcare,” Mark Doerr, vice president of Kmart pharmacy, said.

The activities planned for the event, to be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at all 1,100 Kmart pharmacy locations, include free blood pressure screenings, free memory screenings, Medicare health plan selection assistance and more.

No appointments are necessary. For more information, customers can all 800-866-0086 or visit www.kmart.com/pharmacy.

The initiatives are tied to the efforts of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, the annual initiative aimed at promoting early detection of memory problems and appropriate intervention.

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