PHARMACY

Q&A: Pharmacist and healthcare quality expert Jason Ausili joins NACDS

BY DSN STAFF

Jason Ausili joined NACDS this week as the director of pharmacy affairs. Ausili will drive NACDS' initiatives designed to optimize pharmacy care and will assist with emerging care models. Ausili will also lead the development of relationships with schools and colleges of pharmacy. Ausili, a pharmacist, most recently served as health quality leader at Target Corp., where he developed and executed healthcare quality strategies designed to improve patient outcomes and reduce overall costs. In a recent Q&A, Ausili discussed his vision for pharmacy's future, why he's optimistic about it and more.

Q: Where are you from originally?
A: Washington, Illinois.

Q: What made you want to become a pharmacist?
A: It was really about helping people. I grew up in a small town and the pharmacist in my town was seen as this big force in the community. I love the idea that anybody off the street could walk in and see their pharmacist. The whole community-feel of being in the pharmacy and being part of the neighborhood was really what drew me to the profession.

Q: Where did you go to pharmacy school?
A: Butler University in Indianapolis.

Q: Are you encouraged by the increased role pharmacists are playing in healthcare delivery?
A: Absolutely. One of my main goals is to promote top-of-license practice for pharmacists. It's why pharmacists go to school. They come out of pharmacy school wanting to do more to help people directly, so finding ways to enable them—and free them from the traditional dispensing process so they can actually spend time with their patients to improve their outcomes—is definitely where we need to go. As a pharmacist myself, I find it really exciting to have that direct impact on a patient and their well-being.

Q: Are you optimistic about the direction pharmacy is headed?
A: Definitely. We're seeing some very positive momentum, whether it's provider status or the actual services pharmacists provide. Immunizations are a great example. Ten years ago, who would have thought people could get a flu shot in their pharmacy? Now it's very common. That's just one example of how the tides are turning and pharmacists are becoming a much bigger player in healthcare. There are a lot of people who don't have access to care—conveniently and in a cost-effective manner—so pharmacists provide a more accessible, lower-cost alternative for those people.

Q: What do you look forward to accomplishing at NACDS?
A: My personal vision is to enable pharmacists and pharmacy technicians—the pharmacy team—to practice at the top of their license in order to deliver on the Triple Aim of healthcare: to improve patient outcomes; improve population health; and decrease the overall cost of care. There's no better job out there with that type of broad impact, because it really happens in the neighborhoods and the communities where our retail pharmacies are. By representing our members on that journey, we can really make a difference.

Q: What's one thing about you that would surprise most people?
A: I'm basically a foodie at heart. My wife and I go to a new restaurant every month, and we also experience restaurants with our friends. It's a great way to keep us out and about and enjoying good food.

Q: What's your guiding principle professionally?
A: I'm big on being transparent and accountable. At the end of the day, having a really good strategy is very important, but then you have to execute it. You course correct along the way, but you have to have a long-term vision.

Q: What do you bring to the table?
A: Experience. I've spent time behind the bench as a pharmacist and I've got a number of years in retail headquarters, where I was an operations manager, and also led the quality program at Target. In representing NACDS' members, I've been there. I've experienced many different aspects of what our members go through. That's what I bring to the table

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Dutch scientists: Widespread pharmacogenomics may be 5 years away

BY David Salazar

DÜSSELDORF, Germany ­— Promising news about the future of pharmacogenomics has emerged from the annual World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.  According to a plan presented by the Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association (KNMP) and the Dutch Hospital Pharmacists Association, community pharmacies could be offering pharmacogenomics services by 2020.

“Pharmacogenomics is one of the first clinical applications of the post-genomic era, allowing precision medicine rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to prescribing,” Dr. Ka-Chun Cheung, senior project manager at the KNMP’s department of health research and innovation, said.

The KNMP has been developing a plan for pharmacogenomics since 2005, and has created recommendations for 80 gene-drug combinations. These combinations have been integrated into the country’s drug database and e-prescribing and –dispensing systems.

“This means that clinical decision support for a group of medicines and for a limited, genetically tested group of patients is already possible,” Cheung said. The Netherlands is the world leader in pharmacogenetics. Other countries, including the USA, use our group’s recommendations. With these guidelines, pharmacists can customise the dosing of medicines to the individual’s needs.” 

Now, the country is piloting pharmacogenomics tests in pharmacies, though Cheung noted that a potential barrier to widespread pharmacogenomics availability in community pharmacy is IT infrastructure and the possible difficulties pharmacists might have with reimbursement for care and testing.

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Vernalis acquires U.S. rights to Moxatag

BY David Salazar

BERWYN, Pa. — Vernalis Therapeutics has added a new drug to its portfolio. The company announced Friday that its parent company had acquired the U.S. rights to Pragma Pharmaceuticals’ Moxatag (amoxicillin) extended-release tablets. The company will oversee the drug’s sale, marketing and distribution in the U.S.

“The addition of Moxatag … further underscores Vernalis Therapeutics' commitment to building a commercial presence in the U.S. market,” the company’s SVP commercial operations Tom Parker said. “We look forward to re-launching the product in early 2016, and believe it will be a natural complement to our recently launched 12-hour codeine-based prescription medication,  Tuzistra XR, as both products offer patients and physicians an extended-release alternative to existing treatments.”

Moxatag is meant to treat  tonsillitis or secondary pharyngitis in adults and children 12 years of age and older. 

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