AAFP Selects New Officers and Board Members for Upcoming Year
The Congress of Delegates of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) selected new officers and board members at the 2002 AAFP Scientific Assembly in San Diego. Michael Fleming, M.D., Shreveport, La., was chosen the AAFP's next president-elect. Three new AAFP directors were selected: Rick Kellerman, M.D., Wichita, Kan.; John Sattenspiel, M.D., Salem, Ore.; and Mary Jo Welker, M.D., Columbus, Ohio. The physician representative board member, a new seat on the board, is Cynthia Romero, M.D., Virginia Beach, Va. The new resident board member is Michael Coffey, M.D., Somerville, Mass. The new student board member is Marc Carey, Ph.D., Portland, Ore. Carolyn Lopez, M.D., Chicago, is speaker, and Thomas Weida, M.D., Hershey, Pa., is vice speaker.
The delegates also selected three finalists as candidates for the AAFP position on the board of directors of the American Board of Family Practice (ABFP): Douglas Campos-Outcalt, M.D., Phoenix; Alain Montegut, M.D., Brunswick, Me.; and David Price, M.D., Broomfield, Colo. The ABFP board will elect one of the three candidates in spring 2003. AAFP delegates to the American Medical Association are Patrick Harr, M.D., Maryville, Mo.; Edward Langston, M.D., Lafayette, Ind.; Jerry Martin, M.D., Bowling Green, Ky.; Mary Elizabeth Roth, M.D., Allentown, Pa.; Colette Willins, M.D., Westlake, Ohio; and Joseph Zebley, M.D., Baltimore, Md.
Also at the assembly, James C. Martin, M.D., San Antonio, Tex., was installed as president of AAFP for the upcoming year, and outgoing president, Warren A. Jones, M.D., Ridgeland, Miss., became board chair.
FDA Proposes Regulation to Expedite Availability of Generic Drugs
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently announced a new regulation proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would make generic drugs, which are less expensive, available to consumers sooner by eliminating the current practice that allows manufacturers to repeatedly obtain 30-month stays to block the approval of generic versions of their drugs. These 30-month stays were created to give pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to protect their brand name drug patent rights in court. This proposed rule change would prevent companies from receiving multiple 30-month stays, but would still allow pharmaceutical companies to protect their patent rights though traditional patent-infringement lawsuits. The proposed rule would also clarify the requirements for listing drug patents in the “Orange Book,” limiting the types of patents that have the potential to block generic drug approvals. These rule changes proposed by the FDA are consistent with recommendations made by the Federal Trade Commission in July 2002 that suggested there be only one 30-month approval delay per general drug application. “This proposed rule change would bring relief from the high prices that American consumers frequently pay for prescription drugs,” Secretary Thompson said. “This proposal would not only move generic drugs to market more quickly, but could save consumers approximately $3.5 billion every year.” A copy of the proposed rule can be found on the FDA's Web site:www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/PATENT.pdf.
AAFP Hosts Future of Family Medicine Project Web Site
A new Web site, hosted by the AAFP, provides current information on the Future of Family Medicine (FFM) project, which is a joint effort of the Family Practice Working Party (WP) and the Academic Family Medical Organizations (AFMO). The project's goal is to “develop a strategy to transform and renew the specialty of family practice to meet the needs of people and society in a changing environment.” The site includes a project summary and a timeline charting past and future events related to the project. The FFM project was launched in January 2002, beginning with the consulting work and then the work of five task forces. The project is expected to present its findings and recommendations to the WP and AFMO in August 2003. The FFM project is supported by the following family medicine organizations: AAFP, AAFP Foundation, ABFP, Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM), Association of Family Practice Residency Directors (AFPRD), North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG), and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM). Major support has been contributed by Eli Lilly Foundation, Pharmacia Corporation, the Pharmacia Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and generous support has been obtained from Schering Laboratories/Key Pharmaceuticals and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. The FFM Web site can be viewed atwww.futurefamilymed.org.
AHRQ Awards Grants to Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently announced the awarding of developmental grants to 36 primary care practice-based research networks. The awards, which total $6 million over a three-year period, will support the development of information technology infrastructure to facilitate research and implementation of findings. Some of the awards will fund pilot research projects on such topics as optimal management of chronic diseases, the delivery of preventive services, community-based detection and response to emerging public health threats, and disparities in the health care of priority populations (especially rural and racial/ethnic minorities). Primary care practice-based research networks are groups of primary care practices working in cooperation with academic researchers to answer community-based health care questions and putting the research results into clinical practice. The practice-based research networks are headquartered in 25 states, but the networks receiving grants include primary care practices located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The AAFP will receive one of these grants for a total of approximately $300,000 (see “Newsletter,” Nov. 1, 2002 issue of AFP). A listing of networks, principal investigators, and institutional sponsors receiving awards is available atwww.ahrq.gov/research/pbrnproj.htm.