PHARMACY

WHO cancels controversial plan to redefine counterfeit medicines

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW DELHI The World Health Organization has canceled a controversial plan to redefine counterfeit medicines in a way that some feared would threaten generic drug makers.

Governments of developing countries, including India and Brazil, said the proposed rules would allow legitimate generic drugs to be labeled counterfeits if problems were found in the label or packaging.

The WHO’s International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce wanted to redefine a counterfeit drug as having “false representation about its identity, history and source.”

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Harris Poll: More consumers buying generics, drugs at Wal-Mart-like stores

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCHESTER, N.Y. How and where people by prescription drugs and what drugs they buy have changed substantially over the past two years, according to the Harris Poll.

The poll, released Monday, found that between October 2006 and December 2008, the proportion of adults who would choose generic drugs over branded drugs increased from 68% to 81%, and the number who would choose branded drugs decreased from 32% to 19%. 

Mass merchandisers have also gotten more customers at their pharmacies. Purchases of drugs at stores like Wal-Mart and Target increased from 13% to 17%, while purchases through mail-order and online pharmacies increased from 11% to 15%. Meanwhile, retail pharmacy chains have seen a decrease, from 39% to 33%, while purchases at independent pharmacies have dropped from 12% to 8%. 

The poll was based on an online survey of 2,388 adults nationwide conducted between Dec. 9 and 15. Results were weighted for factors such as age, sex, household income, education, race and ethnicity. 

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Coster joins independent Rx team to spearhead government affairs, policy

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Retail pharmacy and policy veteran John Coster has joined the National Community Pharmacists Association as SVP government affairs, succeeding Charlie Sewell. His appointment to the independent pharmacy organization is effective immediately.

Coster, a licensed pharmacist and vocal advocate for the profession, is well known to pharmacy stakeholders and to policymaking staffs on Capitol Hill. He last served as VP federal affairs and public policy for Rite Aid Corp., and prior to that was the high-profile VP policy and programs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

Coster has also worked for former Senator David Pryor, D-Ark., and on the staff of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and within the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. He also served on the Task Force on Health Care Reform during the Clinton Administration. 

NCPA EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts praised Coster as a well-respected expert in pharmacy and public policy. “As a pharmacist himself, with extensive legislative and policy experience, John will be an outstanding addition to the NCPA team. We are pleased that a pharmacist will be a strong voice for community pharmacy on Capitol Hill and in the regulatory agencies,” said Roberts. 

Added NCPA president Holly Henry, “I look forward to having John Coster represent community pharmacy for NCPA in Washington, D.C. John’s expertise will give community pharmacy the competitive advantage it needs to be part of the overall health care dialogue.” 

Coster, who earned a degree in pharmacy from St. John’s University in New York, and his Masters and Ph.D. in Policy Sciences with a concentration in health from the University of Maryland Graduate School, remains a licensed pharmacist in New York, Maryland and Virginia.

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