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  • 1 Mar 2018 3:03 PM | Anonymous

    PioneerRx to Host the American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance (APPA) National Convention, PharmaCon Expo

    Independent pharmacy owners and pharmacists to convene at the 2nd Annual APPA convention, where value meets affordability.


    Orlando, FL: March 1, 2018 – PioneerRx is the official event host for the 2nd annual American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance (APPA) national convention, PharmaCon Expo.

    PharmaCon Expo will be held in June 8-9, 2018 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, FL. The event will attract independent pharmacy owners, pharmacy buyers and pharmacists who will have the opportunity to enhance their company profile and increase visibility among the leaders in the pharmaceutical industry.

    PioneerRx is a leading provider of pharmacy software whose ultimate goal of development is to help independent pharmacies make more money.

    “PioneerRx’s management software is revolutionizing community pharmacy. We are excited to be hosting this year’s PharmaCon Expo where we can equip community pharmacists with the resources and provide the support they need to expand their patient care services,” says Jeff Key, PioneerRx President.

    The conference will feature several activities among them an education day, an industry hospitality party, with several giveaways, raffles, and a grand prize.

    In addition, APPA will host a golf tournament on Thursday, June 7th at Shingle Creek Golf Club.

    “We will provide you with several excellent networking opportunities with your customers and prospects, including a golf tournament, closing reception, hospitality and an 80's party.” says Brandon Welch, APPA President.

    “Throw on your jeans and plan to sparkle at these fun-filled events! Dazzle, dance, and network the night away,” Welch adds.

    Key Note speakers at the PharmaCon will include Michael Castagna from Mannkind Corp, Larry Twersky from TimerCap & 1-800 Dentist founder, and Suzette DiMascio, CHE, CMCE, CPC, CEO of the CSI Specialty Group. 

    This year’s PharmaCon will provide quality education and networking for pharmaceutical professionals.

    APPA Members will be able to contribute to the content, help plan the conference or attend to enhance their professional development.

    “We contribute to strong advocacy programs centered on assuring that our voices are being heard,” Welch concludes.

    For more information about PharmaCon go to: https://joinappa.com/events

    For more information about the golf tournament: https://joinappa.com/Golf-Tournament

    In you are looking for effective and efficient pharmaceutical purchasing strategies that will conform to health care reforms and new hospital and health systems, then join APPA at: https://joinappa.com/Join-us

    About PioneerRx

    Developed with the experience of over 35 years of pharmacy software development and support, PioneerRx was built from scratch to provide the pharmacy community with a solution that can grow as the industry changes for the next 35 years. PioneerRx delivers weekly improvements and cutting edge features that are designed to provide speed, simplicity, consistency and flexibility, however, their ultimate goal of development is to help pharmacies make more money. Leading the industry in first to market functionality in one seamlessly integrated package, PioneerRx Pharmacy Software has become one of the most successful and frequently talked about pharmacy systems in the United States. For more information please visit: http://www.pioneerrx.com


    About American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance 

    The American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance is a leading pharmacy purchasing association dedicated to serving the needs of its members through education, networking, and the delivery of a unified voice for all participants in the pharmacy purchasing industry. Through ongoing collaboration, our alliance creates an environment that encourages the exchange of ideas and information, increases productivity through new technology, and furthers legislation designed to benefit our industry. For more information, visit: https://joinappa.com/ 


    Contact: Philip Woods

    Media Relations

    Phone: 877-570-2665

    Email: info@joinappa.com

  • 22 Feb 2018 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance (APPA) and H. D. Smith Announce Partnership

    Members of APPA now have a primary wholesaler of choice providing services and solutions.

    Tampa, FL: February 22, 2018 – The American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance (APPA), today announced a partnership with H. D. Smith, a national pharmaceutical wholesaler dedicated to the success of community pharmacies.

    The partnership allows APPA members access to H. D. Smith’s full product line, including its formulary of 9,000 generic Rx items.

    APPA members will also build on their already successful businesses through H. D. Smith’s consultant-style account management.

    “We are thrilled about this partnership as we believe our members will truly benefit from the vast range of services and products H. D. Smith offers,” says Brandon Welch, APPA President.

    H. D. Smith is a healthcare distribution company with locations across the United States. It provides full-line distribution of brand, generic and specialty drugs, as well as other services for manufacturers and health care providers.

    “We have a unique offering to the community pharmacy market, and especially buying groups who partner with us,” says Bob Appleby, president, H. D. Smith. “As a wholly owned subsidiary of AmerisourceBergen, we can offer pharmacies the H. D. Smith experience we are known for, with additional access to the resources of AmerisourceBergen.”

    Currently, APPA provides its members with an array of benefits including creating a complimentary group purchasing concierge service that helps independent pharmacies with their purchasing needs, including CE credits to an employee discount benefit, solutions for serving specialty pharmacy patients and advocacy on legislative issues.

    “APPA member benefits extend beyond the significant savings we provide through our group purchasing services. While group purchasing is at the core of what we do, APPA is committed to offering additional value to help our members grow and excel,” Welch adds.

    H. D. Smith customers include retail and specialty pharmacies, long-term care facilities, institutional and hospital systems, and independent physicians and clinics.

    APPA on the other hand, is a community of pharmaceutical experts and professionals dedicated to the recognition and advancement of the specialized industry of pharmaceutical purchasing. The APPA community is comprised of but not limited to:

    • ·       Pharmacy buyers, Independent Pharmacy Owners
    • ·       Pharmacists
    • ·       Pharmacy Technicians
    • ·       Distributors
    • ·       Wholesalers
    • ·       Government Purchasers
    • ·       Non-Profit Private Purchasing Companies
    • ·       And other dedicated and experience professionals involved in purchasing

    “This is indeed a valuable partnership as our goal is to support our members across the spectrum of best business practices. And all of these programs are value-adds, meaning APPA members have direct access to the opportunities,” Welch concludes.

    For more information about the APPA Buying group “Group Purchasing Solutions” (GPS) go to: http://joinappa.com/Group-Purchasing

    About H. D. Smith

    H. D. Smith is among the largest national pharmaceutical wholesalers, with services and solutions for manufacturers and healthcare providers. Focused on the success of community pharmacies, H. D. Smith provides a complete line of prescription, over-the-counter and home healthcare products, and a wide array of business solutions, for pharmacies across the U.S. The company has distribution facilities in all major markets. H. D. Smith also operates distribution companies Smith Medical Partners and Valley Wholesale Drug. Visit hdsmith.com for more information.

    About American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance 

    The American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance is a leading pharmacy purchasing association dedicated to serving the needs of its members through education, networking, and the delivery of a unified voice for all participants in the pharmacy purchasing industry. Through ongoing collaboration, our alliance creates an environment that encourages the exchange of ideas and information, increases productivity through new technology, and furthers legislation designed to benefit our industry. For more information, visit http://www.joinappa.com

    In you are looking for effective and efficient pharmaceutical purchasing strategies that will conform to health care reforms and new hospital and health systems, then join APPA at: https://joinappa.com/Join-us


    Contact: Philip Woods

    Media Relations

    Phone: 877-570-2665

    Email: info@joinappa.com

  • 21 Feb 2018 11:37 AM | Anonymous
    American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance (APPA) President, Brandon K. Welch launches a PBM Mafia Book

    How the nation’s largest legal cartels directly affect the healthcare industry.


    Tampa, FL: February 21, 2018 Brandon K. Welch. President of American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance (APPA), today launched an e-book titled PBM Mafia.

    The PBM Mafia e-book is aimed at informing Independent pharmacy owners, pharmacist, patients and anybody within the healthcare industry including the public on what really goes on with PBMs and how this directly affects the industry.

    “This book will inform people on issues that face independent pharmacy owners and the emphasis we need to place on developing solutions,” says Welch.

    “I’ve noticed an increasing amount of legal drug cartels over the past few years that has had a catastrophic effect in the independent pharmacy space. I believe independents should have the right to compete fairly in a free and lawful marketplace. If we look at what independent pharmacies do for the community, it’s almost a no brainer to want to help keep them in business,” he explains.

    APPA’s goal is to keep members abreast of the latest developments and news in the pharmaceutical industry as well as offering educational opportunities for professional growth and empowerment.

    “You can’t truly be an independent pharmacy by being a dependent pharmacy. APPA members will directly benefit from this book if they join forces to speak collectively with one voice and a big stick,” Welch says.

    In this book, Brandon poses these questions:

    • ·       Why do prices of drugs continue to increase despite health care reforms?
    • ·       Are pharmacy benefit managers really helping the pharmaceutical industry and end consumers?
    • ·       Or are they the main reason why drug prices are becoming uncontrollable?

    “This book will shock readers how pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are actually the nation’s largest legal cartels,” Welch adds.

    In addition, some of the controversial issues tackled in this book include:

    • ·       PBM Clawbacks: The Hidden Scam
    • ·       The Misery of DIR Fees
    • ·       Discounts, Rebates and Kickbacks

    “My heart and passion lies with small business owners and It’s my duty to help continue to be a voice for the independent pharmacy realm,” Welch concludes.  

    The PBM Mafia book will be available on joinappa.com in May 2018 and will cost .99 cents.

    “This e-book is truly an eye-opener for everybody concerned. Certainly, a must read!” states Joshua Pirestani, founder of the APPA.

    About Brandon Welch

    As the president of APPA, Mr. Welch has several years of experience working in the pharmacy industry with a variety of skills working in retail pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, compounding pharmacy, pharmacy sales, retail banking, commercial banking, group purchasing & negotiating.  His goal is to build long-lasting relationships within the pharmaceutical community.

    About American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance 

    The American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance is a leading pharmacy purchasing association dedicated to serving the needs of its members through education, networking, and the delivery of a unified voice for all participants in the pharmacy purchasing industry. Through ongoing collaboration, our alliance creates an environment that encourages the exchange of ideas and information, increases productivity through new technology, and furthers legislation designed to benefit our industry. For more information, visit http://www.joinappa.com

    In you are looking for effective and efficient pharmaceutical purchasing strategies that will conform to health care reforms and new hospital and health systems, then join APPA at: https://joinappa.com/Join-us


    Contact: Young Suh

    Media Relations

    Phone: 877-570-2665

    Email: info@joinappa.com

  • 11 Jan 2018 5:32 PM | Anonymous

    Are DIR Fees Putting Independent Pharmacies Out Of Business?

    The rate of therapeutic drug use in the U.S. has steadily climbed over the years as more people fall ill and seek medical help. This increase should have resulted to a healthy economy among those in the pharmacy business, but what’s happening in real life is actually the opposite. Many independent pharmacies are struggling to make ends meet, and some even decide to close their doors since their losses are too great to recoup.


    This is caused by a lot of factors, but one of the biggest culprits is direct and indirect remuneration or DIR fees. These started out as a legitimate charge levied by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). But, over time, they have evolved to describe arrangements between pharmacies, Medicare Part D plan providers, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Today, DIR fees are so steep that pharmacies — particularly independent ones — are struggling to pay them, with some barely breaking even and others even ending up in the red.



    So where did DIR fees come from? As mentioned above, it was coined by CMS to make it easier for them to monitor the amount of rebates and other types of price adjustments that drug manufacturers place on their products. These adjustments need to be calculated since they can greatly impact the overall cost of medications under Medicare Part D, and the savings they can provide are passed from PBMs to CMS.


    It’s important to note that DIR fees are charged retroactively. CMS requires PBMs and plan providers to submit DIR reports on a yearly basis. The agency then uses these reports in conjunction with Prescription Drug Event data to reconcile costs and see if they’re paying the right amounts to Medicare Part D plans.


    A lot of people ask if DIR fees are legal. Well, in the case of CMS, the fees are legal since they’re intended to help the agency maximize its savings and reduce the overall cost of healthcare. The problem lies in the fact that plans and PBMs eventually used the term “DIR fees” to refer to the fees that they charge pharmacies.



    Today, “DIR fees” can mean a wide range of things, depending on the type of charges that plans and PBMs want to levy. In some cases, they can refer to the amount that a pharmacy must pay to join the network of a plan or PBM and be considered a “preferred pharmacy”. They can also refer to payment reconciliation, i.e. settling the difference between the projected medication costs and the actual costs.


    DIR fees can even refer to the reimbursement that’s given to pharmacies for meeting certain performance metrics as well as to the fees levied to pharmacies that don’t meet these metrics. Many plans and PBMs consider the performance of each pharmacy in terms of refill rates, preferred product rates, audit error rates, and other factors. If pharmacies fall short on one or more of these metrics, they’ll most likely find themselves receiving less than what had been promised to them.


    The Positive Side of DIR Fees

    Plans and PBMs defend their version of DIR fees, saying that these help lower healthcare costs. Payment reconciliation, for example, allows them to pay for the exact price of the drugs and nothing else, which means they can save money down the road and keep down the costs of Medicare Part D plans. This, in turn, gives people access to low-cost plans that would fit their budget.


    They also point out that, since DIR fees are given retroactively, they require pharmacies, PBMs, and plan providers to do thorough auditing and ensure they’re submitting the right data. This helps them easily spot any fraudulent transactions and prevent these from happening in the first place.


    The Negative Side Of DIR Fees

    Unfortunately, despite these good intentions, DIR fees end up doing more harm than good. Pharmacies are assessed for these fees on a monthly, quarterly, or even annual basis, which means there’s a long stretch of time between the point of sale and the day they receive their assessment. This “lag time” makes it difficult for pharmacies to clearly evaluate how much reimbursement they should receive and/or calculate the exact amount they should pay to PBMs.


    Of course, it’s important to note that many PBMs and plan providers abuse the concept of DIR fees. For instance, they set high estimated costs at the beginning of the year so they can charge high premiums. The costs are ultimately reconciled at the end of the year, but the companies are essentially getting an interest-free loan from the CMS.


    Some even go a step further by tying payments to performance metrics then determining what these metrics are after the claims are paid. This is unfair since it prevents pharmacies from knowing exactly what quality measures they should be striving for. It also allows plan providers and PBMs to reduce the amount they would pay to pharmacies if the latter don’t meet the metrics.


    Even if PBMs and plan providers don’t abuse their power, the fact remains that the retroactive nature of DIR fees make it difficult for pharmacists to map their future. Since they don’t know how much their revenue stream would be, they find it hard to make business plans and decide where they would take their venture in the coming months and years.



    So what can independent pharmacies do to combat DIR fees? Well, the most obvious choice is to avoid signing up for a preferred network (or opting out if they have already joined one). However, this isn’t the ideal solution since it would increase the co-pays that their customers would have to pay and limit the target audience they can serve.


    The best thing that pharmacists can do is to support bipartisan legislation that would get rid of retroactive DIR fees and help improve the transparency in Medicare Part D spending. If passed, H.R. 5951 and its companion legislation Senate Bill 3308 will prevent PBMs from unduly changing their reimbursements whenever they want. This, in turn, ensures that pharmacies know exactly how much they’ll earn at the point of sale.

  • 2 Jan 2018 5:37 PM | Anonymous

    Pharmacy Benefit Managers: The Mafia Of The Pharmaceutical Industry

    The healthcare costs in the United States have steadily risen over the years. This has made it almost impossible for ordinary people to obtain early and ongoing medical attention, properly manage their health conditions, and stay away from serious illnesses and even death that could otherwise have been avoided. This increase can be attributed to many factors but, in terms of the rise of pharmaceutical costs, a lot of the blame can be piled on pharmacy benefit managers.


    These organizations (which are better known as PBMs) were originally formed in the 1960s to help process the prescription transactions of health plans. Over the years, their scope has expanded to include other services. Now, many PBMs are in charge of creating and updating formularies, liaising with drug manufacturers and partner pharmacies, managing patient compliance programs, and doing other tasks.


    On the surface, it would seem that pharmacy benefit managers are assisting employers and insurers in reducing their expenses while helping patients get the prescriptions they need at lower prices. But, if you look closer, you’ll realize that things aren’t what they really seem: the organizations that were designed to help people have transformed themselves into the PBM Mafia.


    PBMs and Overcharging

    Perhaps one of the most corrupt practices of the PBM Cartel is overcharging. PBMs have the power to instruct pharmacies on how much copay they should charge customers; if a PBM decides to charge sky-high copay, pharmacies can do nothing but obey. Customers, on their part, have no choice but to pay, just so they can have their prescriptions filled.


    Earnings from copay don’t stay in pharmacies, though. Pharmacy benefit managers can take back a portion of the customers’ copay after they have determined how much they would pay the drugstores. Sometimes, pharmacies are left with enough money to enjoy a profit; other times, they’re left with barely enough to cover the cost of purchasing and dispensing the drug.


    Other Dubious Practices

    Aside from charging exorbitant copay amounts and underpaying pharmacies, the PBM Mafia can earn from many other ways. They can get huge discounts from drug manufacturers but refuse to pass on these savings to the insurers and patients. They can also reimburse pharmacies a certain rate for a certain type of drug, then charge employers and insurers a higher rate for the same drug — keeping the difference between the two amounts for themselves.


    They can even accept deals from manufacturers to keep a certain drug on health plan formularies. Manufacturers usually need to pay a substantial amount to PBMs to push this deal through, but they can recoup this investment later on since customers under the health plan will be forced to buy their product. For the PBM Cartel and big pharma companies, it’s a win-win situation.


    The PBM Mafia has the opportunity to pull these stunts simply because there are virtually no laws that regulate their actions. There are a few rules in place, but many companies simply find a way around them. Because of these, a lot of PBMs can include and exclude drugs from formularies whenever they want and change their pricing structure at will — leaving insurers, employers, and patients virtually helpless.


    What Can We Do About It?

    The Congress is currently looking into pharmacy benefit managers and will hopefully come up with laws that will regulate how these organizations behave. While waiting for these regulations, pharmacies, insurers, and employers can demand transparency from the PBM cartel they work with and perhaps even switch to smaller PBMs that charge a flat fee and have a transparent pricing model.

  • 1 Jan 2018 5:39 PM | Anonymous

    Learning More About The Largest Pharmaceutical GPO’s In The Country


    “There’s power in numbers.” You’ve probably heard this phrase thousands of times and think of it as a cliché. However, this statement has never been truer particularly when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, and it’s brought to life by group purchasing organizations or GPO’s.


    Pharmaceutical GPO's allows independent pharmacies to group together and use their numbers to buy drugs at lower prices. This, in turn, helps them reduce their overheads and maximize their profits. GPO’s can even use their power to negotiate discounts from drug manufacturers and demand fair treatment and transparent prices, which can further help individual pharmacies in improving their business.


    GPO’s are also greatly helpful when there are drug shortages. On their own, pharmacies have no choice but to either pay higher rates for drugs that are low on stock or quit including these drugs in their product line. But, if they’re a part of a GPO, they’ll have someone who will look for alternative drugs, secure exclusive deals with manufacturers, or even help manufacturers to look obtain raw materials and speed up the production of these drugs.


    Over the years, many pharmacists have realized the importance of belonging to a group purchasing organizations, and this has resulted to the increase in the number of pharmaceutical GPO's in the country as well as to their rise in popularity. There are more or less than 600 GPO’s serving the healthcare industry, although it’s important to note that not all of them are created equal and that some of them offer better services than others.


    Two of the largest GPO’s in the country are MedAssets and Novation. MedAssets had more than 500,000 affiliate beds in 2013, and it served more than 4,000 hospitals and over 120,000 non-acute healthcare providers. Novation had almost 300,000 affiliate beds in 2013 and was handling over 600 suppliers with contracts worth $49 billion, and it was named as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies in 2014. MedAssets and Novation now both belong to the same parent company Vizient, which is one of the leading healthcare services company in the U.S.


    Another excellent GPO is Amerinet, which has almost 400,000 affiliate beds. Established in 1986, the company had four subsidiaries that focused on different fields like non-acute marketplace solutions and healthcare market analysis. Amerinet has rebranded itself as Intalere in 2016 and remains to be one of the leaders in the industry.


    Still anther great option is PBA Health, which offers a wholesaler negotiation service called ProfitGuard. It provides a set of business intelligence tools that help you manage your purchases, maximize your rebates, and ensure you get the best possible value for your money. Many pharmacists swear by ProfitGuard, pointing out that the service has helped them greatly especially in seeking out new generic drugs and choosing those that are available at the most reasonable prices.


    These are some of the largest pharmaceutical GPO's in the market. They’re definitely not the only options out there, but they’re a good place to begin particularly if you’re new to the world of group purchasing. Do your research now to see which GPO best suits your needs!

  • 22 Dec 2017 5:34 PM | Anonymous

    Walgreen's Surprises Medical Cannabis Advocates?

    The subject of medical cannabis has been a source of widespread debate for decades. This has become even more true in April 2016, when pharmacy giant Walgreen's published a blog post entitled “Clarifying Clinical Cannabis”.


    Walgreen’s post defines medical cannabis, lists the illnesses and conditions it can help manage, and outlines its various methods of administration. It also explains how the substance affects the body, what its potential side effects are, and how patients can get a prescription for it. The article even talks about why the use of clinical cannabis has been debated for so long, pointing out that it’s associated with negative effects but has also been discovered to help with appetite improvement, muscle stiffness, and pain relief.


    The blog post, which was written by Dahlia Sultan (a resident pharmacist at Walgreen's and the University of Illinois-Chicago) surprised many medical cannabis advocates. The fact alone that Walgreen's decided to talk about this topic was a shock, considering that many corporations either decline to comment about it or avoid the subject altogether.


    A lot of people were also astonished at the neutral tone of Walgreen’s blog post and the informative approach it took. Many took this as a good sign, since the post doesn’t only open the doors for discussion but also educates patients that opioid painkillers are not the only option. In fact, the blog post states, “If you’d like more information about the use of medical marijuana.” This is an important message since a lot of patients nowadays are dealing with chronic pain, but their doctors are hesitant to suggest clinical cannabis.


    Alan Brochstein of New Cannabis Ventures sums up the thoughts of many medical cannabis advocates by saying, “I can’t recall any S&P 500 company ever sharing such a supportive view.” This is particularly even more significant for Walgreen's which, as Brochstein points out, is actively involved in the lives of patients and is considered to be a reliable source of healthcare advice.


    Pharmacies and Medical Cannabis

    Another interesting sentence from Walgreen's blog post is its disclaimer that the company is “not a licensed medical marijuana provider.” According to Ricardo Baca of The Cannabist, Walgreens might have recognized that pharmacies may soon get the permit to be a legal supplier. This is especially true now that prescription drugs made of cannabis derivatives are working toward getting an FDA permit. Brochstein also asks if Walgreen's has smelled a huge opportunity, considering that Canadian pharmacies have stated that they want to be a part of the medical cannabis program.


    It might be true that Walgreen's wants to cash in on the clinical cannabis trend and is taking steps toward getting the license to sell the substance. However, this doesn’t change the fact that, as of the moment, pharmacies in the U.S. are not allowed to supply this substance — even in states where the use of medical and recreational cannabis is already allowed. Any pharmacist who disobeys this rule will lose his or her license and will no longer be allowed to dispense controlled substances to patients.


    There are many reasons why U.S. pharmacies are not allowed to dispense medical cannabis. One of the biggest reasons is that pharmacies are required to sell only drugs that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Cannabis, unfortunately, is a long way from getting FDA approval.


    In fact, it’s stuck in a catch-22: it’s classified as a Schedule I substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and has “no currently accepted medical use”. (Heroin is another substance placed under this category.) This makes it difficult for researchers to study cannabis and identify its medical uses, which would have helped remove it from Schedule I and downgrade it to a less severe schedule.


    Because of this classification, researchers find it hard to get grants and even obtain cannabis plants to experiment on. This means that they can’t put cannabis through the standard drug development research process, like what commercially available medications have gone through. This process is important since it would have allowed scientists to study the potentially active chemicals in the plant and understand how they interact with each other and with other substances. These information, in turn, can help reduce the public stigma of cannabis and convince the government, the healthcare system, and patients that medical cannabis is a viable treatment option.


    It’s also important to note that many Big Pharma companies are not interested in creating FDA-approved drugs based on cannabis — simply because it doesn’t have a lot of earning potential. They can’t claim ownership of cannabis outright since it’s impossible to patent a plant. This means they’d have to spend time and money on developing an extraction process for one of cannabis’s active chemicals then file a patent for that process. However, even this won’t give them protection since other companies can still extract the chemical using virtually the same procedure with slight variations.


    The legalization of medical and recreational cannabis use has also discouraged Big Pharma from pushing the matter forward. After all, if people can easily buy the substance from dispensaries, why would they opt for more expensive versions? This lack of assurance in a stable market has resulted to a slowdown in the development of FDA-approved cannabis-based drugs.


    The Future of Medical Cannabis

    Fortunately, the future of clinical cannabis isn’t bleak. Many organizations and companies are swimming against the current to learn more about the plant and its active chemicals and discover how they can be used in the medical setting. British company GW Pharmaceuticals has been studying a drug called Sativex, which is made of THC and CBD (the two major chemicals from cannabis). The Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, meanwhile, wants to compare cannabis smoking and vaporizing to see which is the safer administration method.


    Some countries have also realized that dispensing drugs through pharmacies is a smart step to take. The Canadian Pharmacy Association, for example, has expressed its belief that pharmacies provide the safest means of dispensing cannabis, compared to dispensaries and compassion clubs. This approach will hopefully spread to the United States and eventually make it possible for the substance to be sold in pharmacies.


    Organizations are even providing training to help people become more knowledgeable in the clinical use of cannabis. One of these is Americans For Safe Access, which has created the Medical Cannabis Advocate's Training Center for those who want to learn more about citizen lobbying, grassroots campaigning, and other activities.

  • 22 Dec 2017 5:29 PM | Anonymous


    Are you looking to start or further your career in the pharmaceutical industry? You are sure to find career options on job boards, on a pharmaceutical company’s website, recruitment agencies and through LinkedIn pharmaceutical career search.

    Why it's good to use LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is a social network where business owners, organizations, employees and professionals meet to establish their profiles and take advantage of the online platform’s many features. It offers plenty of benefits as well.

    • For the employed, unemployed and student, LinkedIn jobs provide a variety of career options in one place. Regardless of the industry you're in, you're sure to find a job on LinkedIn in your preferred location.
    • It has become a useful tool for headhunters and recruiting managers. Social networking sites have become part of recruitment strategies, and as a network of and for professionals, it is only logical for a recruiting team to use LinkedIn to search for the next pharmacist or researcher.
    • Provides records and data essential in your job search strategy. Just run a LinkedIn pharmaceutical career search, and your query will return a list of people, jobs, companies, and groups in the pharmaceutical industry separated by tabs. There is even a list of registered pharmacy and pharmaceutical schools that will be provided.

    Why LinkedIn is good for a niche like pharmacy and pharmaceutical careers

    Most profiles are listed as a specialty, or classified according to your industry or career. So whenever someone searches for a pharmacist or one with related qualifications, LinkedIn will point you in the right direction with accuracy. You can bet that a search result will be related to the pharmaceutical industry. This effectively narrows down your options, and helps you find prospective employers.

    How to use LinkedIn to find a job in the pharmaceutical industry

    1. Create a LinkedIn profile that sells

    By sell, it means a profile that catches attention and conveys a message that a potential employer wants to see. Three of the most important things you need to showcase is your headline, name and photo. A good headline must be creative without being too informal or unprofessional, and memorable.

    Giacomo Bracci Helsen provides an excellent example with a headline that says “He's a left/right brainer design thinking strategist”, instead of the usual marketing and advertising specialist.

    1. Make sure your profile and headline is concise

    Your profile should say a lot about you being a job seeker and not just someone being part of the social network. A good headline should send a shout out to recruiters and employers looking for a pharmacist or similar careers.

    1. Add spice and substance to your profile

    LinkedIn lets you add videos, blog posts and other tools that can boost your profile. So why stick with the usual way to present your work experience, achievements, and the like?

    1. Follow pharmaceutical companies

    What better way to know if your target company is hiring new employees, than to follow them on LinkedIn via their company page? Get the latest update, newsletters and other information that you can use to reach out to hiring managers.

    1. Widen your network

    Similar to other social networks, LinkedIn lets you connect with colleagues, friends and other professionals in the pharmaceutical industry, some of which know someone in the business. This is the easiest way to increase your visibility and get first-hand information for any job offers and openings.

    1. Get an introduction

    If you and someone in your network has a common connection with your target company or person, ask them to introduce you. This works in the virtual world as well as it does in the real world.

    1. Find and know your hiring manager

    Do you have a target company in mind? Using the Advanced People Search feature in LinkedIn, you will be able to identify the hiring manager of the company you wish to work with. Simply type in the company name and the title of the hiring manager.

    1. Find and know your future boss

    When you know more about a company, you can create a sales pitch that will conform to its vision, mission or culture. Who doesn't want a candidate that fits?

    1. Use your network to gather data/insider information

    If you use a target company’s name in the Advanced Search page, you will know who in your network are connected, one way or another, with the organization. Talk to them and get details.

    1. Be an active participant

    Don’t be that job seeker who waits and does nothing after completing their profile. Even if your headline grabs attention, you should find ways to exploit LinkedIn to your advantage.

    How to improve your profile and resume

    Take into account all the tips listed above, and improve your profile and resume accordingly. Remember to make your headline count, and upload other tools to boost your online visibility.

  • 22 Dec 2017 5:25 PM | Anonymous


    Created by the US federal government in 1992, the 340B Drug Pricing Program was supposed to help poor patients acquire outpatient drugs at significantly reduced prices. It mandates drug manufacturers to allow covered entities to reach as many eligible patients as possible by stretching scarce federal resources. Unfortunately, the pricing program has now become a source of pain, rather than cure, for many patients.

    A clever lawyer discovered a massive loophole in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, turning it from an obscure government program into a means for hospitals to make money at the expense of patients. 340B specifies that drug manufacturers provide discounts for poor people, not whoever provides the outpatient drugs. This gave hospitals the idea to keep the discounts for themselves, instead of passing it on to patients. Pharmacies, especially brand new stores, are exploiting the loophole as well.

    But the benefits that hospitals and pharmacies are enjoying right now are at risk of coming to an end. A report by AIR 340B, a group linked to drug makers, revealed that the 340B Drug Pricing Program has gone unchecked for too long, resulting in an estimated program sales of $16.1 billion in 2016 and an expected total drug sales to reach $23 billion by 2021. The group is urging policymakers to reexamine theprogram, and ensure that it serves its original intent. They're also pushing to limit the program's expansion.

    In an AIR 340B-sponsored roundtable discussion, senior legislative assistant for Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Ted Alexander said that Collins is looking to improve transparency of the program, but nothing is certain about what will happen to it. What is certain, however, is that a number of different health care bills will be submitted next Congress, and stakeholders would do well to gather information as to how the340B Drug Pricing Program will affect federal spending

    Last November, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has released an addendum to the 340B Drug Pricing Program. This required drug manufacturers to include in their existing PPA the following terms:

    • Manufacturer shall furnish the Secretary with reports, on a quarterly basis, that include the price of each covered outpatient drug that is subject to the Agreement, that according to the manufacturer, represents the maximum price that covered entities may permissibly be required to pay for the drug (referred to in this addendum as the “ceiling price”).
    • Manufacturer shall offer each covered entity covered outpatient drugs for purchase at or below the applicable ceiling price, if such drug is made available to any other purchaser at any price.

    With the new changes coming, the fight to discredit the drug pricing program is renewed.

    Hospitals, pharmacies and other safety-net providers, however, claim that the program must be protected, since it allows entities to provide improved healthcare services with little to no insurance.

    In a December email to Bloomberg BNA, 340B Health’s vice president of communications, Randy Barrett, accused the drug industry to have “commissioned a cynical report designed to protect future profits”. Any move that will cut back the program could have an adverse effect to the poor across America, since this will result in an increase in medicine prices and a decrease in access to clinical care.

    With the ongoing debate and opposing moves, the future of the 340B Drug Pricing Program is definitely uncertain.

  • 22 Dec 2017 5:22 PM | Anonymous

    The Benefits Of Joining A Pharmacy Franchise

    Do you want to be a part of a lucrative business while helping other people? Your best bet is to join a pharmacy franchise, where you not only sell medicines, but also provide other forms of assistance to patients who need them. It is also a great way to gain business confidence, considering that you've been entrusted to use someone else's brand and help market it.

    Why join a pharmacy franchise?

    1. Start a Pharmacy business easier and quicker

    In a franchise, every aspect of a business is taken care of before it is handed to you. Unlike a regular startup, you don't need to create a business plan, study the trends and your target market, or find a suitable location for your business. You may need to take out a business loan or borrow money to pay for the franchise, but everything else will be handled on your behalf. In some cases, even hiring employees will be handled by the mother company. So if you want to start a business in the pharmaceutical industry, a pharmacy franchise is a great idea.

    1. Rules and policies are already established

    What is your company’s vision and mission? How are employees expected to act? What type of services should they offer? The answer to these are already provided, so you don't need to develop your own rules and policies. Just follow what has already been established and proven effective.

    1. Gain a competitive edge in marketing, advertising and negotiating

    In franchising, you are selling a brand that usually has an established market or following. This provides better branding and marketing, which will prove advantageous to a franchise owner. After all, they are not only marketing the brand, but the quality of service as well. This gives you an edge over new, and unknown startups.

    1. Better payment arrangements

    How you pay for your franchise will depend on agreed terms and policies. When franchising a pharmacy, you may be required to pay a one-off franchise fee, followed by a royalty fee paid monthly. With a predictable payment option, a franchise owner need not worry about fees changing without notice, and they know how much they need to make to cover payments and gain a profit.

    1. Better access to stocks

    When you join a pharmacy franchise, you don't need to worry as to where you can source medicines and other supplies, since these will be provided for you. Just keep your inventory updated and you won't have to run out of stocks. Different franchises, however, may have different levels of requirements in terms of the look and feel of a pharmacy, which will dictate as to which stocks you can and can’t carry.

    In business, however, not everything is all sunshine and happiness. Joining a pharmacy franchise is no different, and its biggest risk would be the company’s reputation. It only takes one franchise to ruin an entire company. But, if you choose a trusted and well-known brand, it will take a lot to ruin its reputation.

    With the advantages outweighing the disadvantages, you should not hesitate to join a pharmacy franchise.

    Request more information about joining a Pharmacy Franchise Now!

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About The Alliance

APPA is comprised of experts and professionals in the field of pharmacy purchasing who believe that pharmacy purchasing deserves a large amount of attention since it is one of the most important specialty fields in pharmacy. Creating a large alliance, these professionals can speak in a clear and unmistakable voice. By keeping members abreast with the latest in the pharmaceutical industry, pharmacy buyers, independent pharmacy owners, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, distributors, government purchasers, non-profit private purchasing companies, and other dedicated and experienced professionals who are involved in purchasing can only benefit from this.

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