PHARMACY

Teva appoints new president, CEO

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has appointed Erez Vigodman as president and CEO, the Israeli drug maker said Thursday.

Vigodman will replace acting president and CEO Eyal Desheh, who will return to his previous position as group EVP and CFO. Desheh took the interim position after the departure of former president and CEO Jeremy Levin in October 2013.

"I would like to welcome Erez to his new position as the CEO of Teva," Teva chairman Phillip Frost said. "As a member of the Teva board since 2009, Erez has a deep understanding of the company and the industry in which it operates, putting him in a strong position to hit the ground running and deliver value for shareholders."

Vigodman plans to leave his current position as president and CEO of agrochemical company Makhteshim Agan Industries on Feb. 6.

 

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PHARMACY

NCPA survey: Drugs often don’t make it to patients’ hands due to efforts to combat prescription drug abuse

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. —Vulnerable patients, including seniors and cancer patients, suffer from lack of access to needed painkillers as efforts to combat diversion and misuse of controlled substances often result in drugs not getting into the hands of those who need them, according to a new pharmacist survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association. 

The NCPA surveyed more than 1,000 pharmacists, finding that some of the most vulnerable patients struggle to obtain medications prescribed to alleviate pain, and surprise disruptions in the supply chain can make it impossible for many pharmacists to assure patients their prescriptions for controlled substances will be filled the following month.

About three-quarters of respondents experienced three or more delays caused by stopped shipments of their orders for drugs over the past eight months, with 55 patients per pharmacy affected. Meanwhile, 89% of pharmacies received no advanced notice of the delay and found out only when their order arrived and did not contain the controlled substances they had ordered, with 60% saying delays in receiving the medications lasted at least one week.

"Vulnerable patients are increasingly and tragically becoming collateral damage in the country’s battle against the abuse of prescription drugs, particularly narcotic painkillers," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "In the survey, community pharmacists cited having their supplies or shipments of controlled substances abruptly shut off by their wholesalers, which may have done so due to perceived pressure, intimidation or a lack of clear guidance from law enforcement officials such as the Drug Enforcement Administration."

Most respondents reported having to turn away patients and refer them to competitors. In response, the NCPA has advocated such efforts as electronic prescription drug monitoring programs and tracking systems, more effective education of prescribers, shutting down rogue pain clinics and offering more disposal options for excess medications and more scrutiny of controlled substances delivered by mail-order pharmacies.

"It’s a shame to watch an arthritic 85-year-old do without," one pharmacist wrote in an open-ended section of the survey. "We try to scrutinize all controlled substance prescriptions but are made to feel like criminals when trying to service our patients," wrote another.

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Surescripts CEO Harry Totonis to step down

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. — The head of the country’s largest e-prescribing network is stepping down, the company said Thursday.

Surescripts announced that president and CEO Harry Totonis would leave the company in March. Totonis began with the company following its 2008 merger with RxHub.

Surescripts’ board of directors is retaining an executive search firm to find a successor, and a spokeswoman for the company told DSN that it was actively looking for a replacement with Totonis’ help, and did not have plans to appoint an interim CEO at this time.

"Harry is a visionary, responsible for the transformation of Surescripts into the nation’s leading clinical network that is shaping how health care connects and communicates by expanding capabilities to enable interoperability between health systems, physicians and pharmacists," Surescripts co-chairman Steven Miller said. "We are extremely pleased with what Harry has accomplished and believe the company is well-positioned for continued success."

The company has grown rapidly under Totonis’ leadership, today connecting more than half a million prescribers, 94% of retail pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers, hospitals and others, allowing the transmission of e-prescriptions, immunization records, continuity of care documents and referrals. The company also acquired data encryption firm Kryptiq in 2012.

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