Leadership
Mar 01, 2024

Pharmacolog announces that the currently appointed CEO Lars Gusch will step down from his position on April 30, 2024. This resignation is by mutual agreement with the Board of Directors, which in the meantime is working on the recruitment of a successor CEO, who will be announced in due course.

Lars Gusch, CEO comments: "I would like to thank the Board of Directors for the trust they have placed in me and the good cooperation. Pharmacolog has gone through challenging times in the past year and it has been an honor to lead the company. I am sure that the path we have taken will be successfully continued with new leadership after my departure and I wish the company the best of luck."

Erik Hedlund, Chairman of the Executive Board, comments: "Lars Gusch took over as CEO of Pharmacolog in a turbulent situation for the company. It soon became clear that the conditions for running the business further were lacking. Instead of developing, Lars Gusch's main task was to wind down the business. Lars Gusch has carried out and completed this task in an exemplary manner.

With a new direction for Pharmacolog, we have jointly decided that Lars Gusch will leave his position at the end of April this year. We wish Lars Gusch good luck in his new challenges.”

Cardinal Health
Feb 29, 2024

DUBLIN, OH - Today, Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH) released its 2024 Biosimilars Report: insights on a pivotal year of evolution and expansion, an analysis of key recent economic, competitive, legislative and societal developments in biosimilars. The publication highlights legislative developments and new treatments, including adalimumab biosimilars. The report also provides the perspectives of retina specialists on biosimilars, ahead of the expected launch of multiple new biosimilars for retinal diseases.

employee of the month
Feb 28, 2024

Mary Beth Wimberly, a pharmacy tech specialist with the pharmacy department at Springfield Memorial Hospital, is the nonprofit hospital’s Colleague of the Month for February.

Colleagues appreciate and respect Wimberly for the way she handles difficult tasks, answers questions, displays her expertise in different areas of the pharmacy and demonstrates a strong commitment to patient safety. She raises questions and addresses any concerns regarding IV labels or instructions for compounded products.

Wimberly also independently pursues certifications to enhance her knowledge.

antibody
Feb 28, 2024

NORTH CHICAGO, IL - AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) and OSE Immunotherapeutics SA (ISIN: FR0012127173; Mnemo: OSE), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company, today announced a strategic partnership to develop OSE-230, a monoclonal antibody designed to resolve chronic and severe inflammation, currently in the pre-clinical development stage.

pharmacist as provider
Legislation
Feb 27, 2024

The combination of the worsening shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs) and the valuable contributions of pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic have bolstered the societal case for pharmacist provider status.

According to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), there is a current shortage of 17,500 PCPs, and a study commissioned by the Association of American Medical Colleges concluded that the U.S. could experience a shortage of up to 48,000 PCPs by 2034. Moreover, the PCP shortage is even worse based on geographic distribution. Just as there are so-called “food deserts”—areas that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food—there are “PCP deserts”—places where there is one or fewer PCP for every 3,500 people, as defined by HRSA. A staggering 102 million Americans—31% of the total U.S. population—live in primary care Healthcare Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), and 65% of these HPSAs are in rural areas.

The Public Health Emergency (PHE) enacted by the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic enabled pharmacists to provide essential services, including testing, vaccination, and treatment initiation. According to The Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition, during the pandemic pharmacists provided 350 million interventions to approximately 150 million people, in large measure due to the excellent accessibility of pharmacies—nine in 10 Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy—and the fact that patients visit their community pharmacist twice as frequently as they visit PCPs.

These two factors have generated greater bipartisan support in Washington, D.C. for pharmacist provider status, with two different legislative approaches emerging. 

One approach is to mandate Medicare reimbursement of pharmacists for a narrow range of services but broadly in terms of geography. H.R. 1770, the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act, expands Medicare to permanently include services provided by a pharmacist, including incidental services and supplies, related to testing, vaccines, and treatment for COVID-19, influenza, and certain other illnesses. As of Jan. 10, the bill had 96 cosponsors (49 Republicans, 47 Democrats), and S. 2477 is an identical bill in the Senate that has 14 cosponsors (8 Democrats, 6 Republicans).

The other approach is to mandate Medicare reimbursement of pharmacists for a broad range of services, but only in geographic areas that are underserved by PCPs. S. 1491, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, which has been brought before Congress a number of times in the past, as of Jan. 10 had 12 cosponsors (seven Democrats, four Republicans, and one Independent). As evidence of the bipartisan appeal of the bill, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of the most conservative senators, and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), one of the most liberal senators, are among its cosponsors. The bill provides for Medicare coverage and payment at the lesser of 80% of the actual charge or 85% of the Physician Fee Schedule amount for certain pharmacist services that are furnished by a pharmacist in a HPSA and would otherwise be covered under Medicare if furnished by a physician.

The former approach as proposed by H.R. 1770/S. 2477 has garnered the most advocacy support, with backing by The Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition, whose members include the leading pharmacist and pharmacy associations, the nation’s three largest drug wholesalers, several of the largest retail pharmacy chains, and 30 hospitals and health systems.

While there was a paucity of legislation passed by Congress in 2023 and partisanship will almost assuredly continue in 2024, an election year, the aforementioned verities of the worsening PCP shortage and the value demonstrated by pharmacists during the PHE offer hope that pharmacist provider status legislation could ultimately be passed as part of a large end-of-year federal spending package.

About the author: Ken Perez, healthcare marketing, strategy and policy consultant and former Vice President of Healthcare Policy and Government Affairs for Omnicell, Inc. 

Specialty pharmacy image
Feb 28, 2024

The practice of specialty pharmacy is increasing, but what exactly does it mean?

Any drug can be considered “special” due to its complicated interactions with the human body. However, advanced technology drives drug development into a new domain.

USP
Feb 21, 2024

The responsibility to uphold the sterile compounding standards set forth by The Joint Commission (TJC) and the updated USP Chapter <797> is paramount. The revised guidelines, which came into effect in late 2023, necessitate a proactive approach to ensure compliance and safeguard patient health.

With an eye on the latest pharmacy research and expert guidelines, below are some steps and recommendations to help ensure your hospital pharmacy is up to date on the requirements:

1.) Policy and procedure review

accreditation
Feb 13, 2024

Pharmacy leaders at hospitals and health systems juggle a variety of issues and activities every day. From my decades of experience, I’m familiar with the operational, clinical, financial, and regulatory responsibilities we manage. It’s challenging but rewarding.

While we can’t solve all challenges overnight, we can make progress in one area: regulatory compliance. Let’s start by focusing on accreditation. We’ll look at specific (and perhaps lesser known) standards issues I have seen surveyed, with practical strategies to prepare.

Executive Insights
Feb 27, 2024

Pharmacy Angle sat down with James Hall who is the Director of Pharmacy for a joint venture between Texas Health Resources and Advent Health in Fort Worth, Texas. James has been the Director at this facility for the past 24 years and has over four decades of total industry experience. 

Like many in this industry, James chose a career in pharmacy due to the impact and influence a family member had on his, in his case...his sister. Also like others, James faces many challenges in today's changing landscape but credits his staff for being nimble and resourceful in an order to make things work. From ensuring metrics are where they need to be for care and revenue purposes, to mentoring young professionals, to discussing pharmacists receiving provider status, lot's of great information to digest in this installment of Executive Insights. 

 

Educational
Feb 20, 2024

Jenna Stern, Associate Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy, supports Vizient’s government relations, monitors federal regulatory and legislative developments, and helps communicate Vizient’s positions on developments most relevant to Vizient and its members. Prior to joining Vizient, Jenna served as the Director of Health Policy for the American Pharmacists Association and as a senior associate with Avalere, a DC-based healthcare consulting firm.

Executive Insights
Feb 13, 2024

Pharmacy Angle had the privilege of sitting down and visiting with Jamie Leonard, the Director of Pharmacy with Benefis Health System located in Great Falls, Montana. With over 30 years of experience and a passion for geriatrics, Jamie has seen how leadership of a unit has changed with so much more to manage today than what she was taught in school. 

Webinars, Partner Voice
Feb 12, 2024

VPL TrajectRx empowers outpatient pharmacies by giving them the cloud-based shipping, tracking and compliance solution they need to build cost-conscious, stronger, and smarter last-mile operations. Created for pharmacists by pharmacists, our clinically minded platform gets prescriptions out the door, tracks and traces them to their destination, communicates shipping updates to patients and staff, and compiles necessary reporting for proof of delivery.

VPL TrajectRx