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ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a highly anticipated move to new leadership, the National Community Pharmacists Association has named pharmacist, attorney and generic drug industry advocate Kathleen Jaeger as its new chief executive. Jaeger, who for the past eight years was president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, succeeds Bruce Roberts, who retired as head of the NCPA in June.
Jaeger’s appointment is effective Nov. 1. Her selection to head the independent pharmacy industry’s top national trade association was announced Sunday by NCPA president Joseph Harmison at the organization’s 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in Philadelphia.
Assuming command of the NCPA in the wake of Roberts’ retirement, Jaeger will have big shoes to fill, given the passion, energy and effectiveness her predecessor brought to the post. But she comes highly prepared: At the GPhA, Jaeger brought a significantly higher level of visibility to the generic industry, along with closer ties with Congress and such federal agencies as the Food and Drug Administration, which paid off in a series of legislative and regulatory victories.
Jaeger also brought a more sophisticated approach to communications and healthcare advocacy on behalf of generic manufacturers, “transforming the association into a powerful voice for the generic industry, developing aggressive and effective public policy, advocacy and communications programs,” the NCPA noted.
“Kathleen brings to NCPA a demonstrated track record of successful advocacy, along with a first-hand pharmacy background,” Harmison said at the conference. “Kathleen’s knowledge of the pharmacy industry and proven Washington expertise make her a perfect fit for NCPA.”
Lonny Wilson, who chairs the NCPA’s executive committee and serves as CEO of Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma, also praised the group’s new top executive. Jaeger, he asserted, “has the experience, vision and leadership capabilities to take this well-positioned association and guide it to an even brighter future to better serve community pharmacists and their patients.”
For her part, Jaeger said she was “absolutely honored to join NCPA and represent independent community pharmacists and the patients we care for each day. “As the daughter of an independent community pharmacist, and as a pharmacist myself, I understand the critical and growing role neighborhood pharmacies play in our healthcare system, as well as the challenges they face,” she said. “Every day, millions of Americans depend on community pharmacists for quality medicines and expert counseling to feel better and lead more productive lives. We need to ensure that independent community pharmacists are indispensible to America’s healthcare system today, tomorrow and beyond.”
Jaeger's departure from GPhA followed by several months the enactment of the massive health-reform bill. Among other changes, the new law created a regulatory approval pathway at the FDA for biosimilars, fulfilling a long-sought goal for GPhA and its CEO. That legislative victory came at a price, however: It gave innovator biotech companies 12 years' data exclusivity in which to market their drugs before the FDA could approve a biosimilar version, rather than the five-year period sought by Jaeger and the generic industry.
Prior to leading the GPhA, Jaeger chaired the food and drug practice for the McKenna and Cuneo law firm and, later, Kirkpatrick and Lockhart. She earned a Juris doctorate from Catholic University and a bachelors in science in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island.