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PDUFA reauthorization provisions for blind draw applause

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — While most of the attention to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act reauthorization focused on what it would mean for the generic drug industry, one other aspect of the law recently drew applause from a group that advocates on behalf of the blind.

The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law this week, included provisions that establish best practices for pharmacies to use in providing accessible prescription drug labeling to patients with vision loss, including proper dosage, the name of the medication, safety information and more.

"We applaud President Obama and Congress for taking this important step," American Foundation for the Blind president and CEO Carl Augusto said. "AFB has been working on this issue for many years, and we’re thrilled that this is now a reality."


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GE Lighting helps Walgreens enhance lighting at nearly 7,000 stores

BY Allison Cerra

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Walgreens recently upgraded its general lighting across 80% of the chain’s nationwide locations, thanks to a partnership with GE Lighting.

As part of its new new lighting initiative, Walgreens said it has changed its lights to the new GE F25 T8 linear fluorescent tubes, which is designed to save thousands of dollars as it impacts more than 4.3 million lights at nearly 7,000 stores. Additionally, the new linear fluorescent fixtures from GE Lighting will increase energy efficiency by 9% and extend re-lamp cycles by 10%. Walgreens also noted that these lights — lamps that feature a higher color temperature and color rendering index — cause tones to appear more vivid and vibrant. This can affect how shoppers perceive the colors of different products, the drug store chain said.

"Creating the very best shopping experience for our customers is our top priority, and lighting helps us achieve that goal," said Tim Schmid, divisional vice president of facilities management, energy and sustainability with Walgreens. "With our new lighting upgrade, colors appear more vibrant and more like they would in daylight, so customers don’t need to second guess themselves in the cosmetics aisle. Plus, the change is saving us money and energy at the same time."

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NACDS Foundation announces inaugural class of Faculty Scholars Program

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation on Thursday announced the 2012-2013 inaugural class for the foundation’s Faculty Scholars Program. 

Launched earlier this year, the Faculty Scholars Program is designed to educate assistant professors from U.S. schools and colleges of pharmacy about designing, implementing and publishing community-pharmacy-based patient care research. Educational programming was designed in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, under the leadership of Melissa Somma McGivney.

Five professors of pharmacy have been awarded this year’s inaugural distinction: Kristen DiDonato, PharmD, clinical assistant professor, University of Missouri Kansas City; Ashley Ellis, PharmD, clinical assistant professor, University of Mississippi; Sharon Gatewood, PharmD, assistant professor, Virginia Commonwealth University; Clark Kebodeaux, PharmD, assistant professor, St. Louis College of Pharmacy; and Lawrence Staubach, MD, MBA, assistant professor, University of Wyoming.

This year’s five recipients were selected from 27 applicants. As participants in the NACDS Foundation Faculty Scholars Program, each scholar will participate in advanced educational opportunities through in-person meetings, regular conference calls, individualized mentoring, Web-based lecture material and online discussion forums. The scholars will engage in peer-to-peer review, receiving support from a network of researchers nationwide. They will also be eligible to receive a research grant to launch a community pharmacy-based patient-centered care project.

“This highly accomplished and energetic team of faculty scholars really captures the excitement surrounding this program,” stated NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger. “The NACDS Foundation created the Faculty Scholars Program with the confidence that this type of research can make a meaningful difference for patients’ lives and public health, and this is an ideal group to live up to those high expectations.”

The first in-person meeting of the accepted scholars will take place at the NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference, to be held August 25 to 28 in Denver.

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