PHARMACY

Abbott, EpiTherapeutics ink 3-year licensing agreement

BY Allison Cerra

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — Abbott has made a pact with a biopharmaceutical company to develop new cancer treatments by making small-molecule inhibitors.

Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott will provide EpiTherapeutics with an up-front payment and will receive funding of research activities conducted at EpiTherapeutics. The biopharmaceutical company also is eligible, under certain conditions, to receive milestone payments as well as potential royalties on future revenues.

"Abbott’s oncology research is focused on the discovery and development of targeted, less toxic therapies that work against the processes cancers need to survive," said James Sullivan, pharmaceuticals discovery VP at Abbott. "The varied nature of the cancer requires a diverse approach looking at multiple disease targets in different tumor types and we look forward to working with EpiTherapeutics to accelerate our development of new anti-cancer drugs."

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PHARMACY

URAC revises accreditation programs

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A healthcare accrediting organization is revising three products in its Pharmacy Quality Management suite of programs.

URAC said its pharmacy committee approved revisions to its mail service, specialty pharmacy, and workers’ compensation and property and casualty for pharmacy benefit management accreditation programs. The products revised include:

  • Mail-service pharmacy, version 2.0;

  • Specialty pharmacy, version 2.0; and

  • Workers’ compensation and property and casualty for pharmacy benefit management, version 2.0.

URAC also introduced new performance measures to benefit the mail-service and specialty pharmacy programs, including dispensing accuracy, medication adherence, generic dispensing rates, prescription turnaround time and overall consumer satisfaction.

"It is vital that, in this healthcare environment, URAC standards remain current. By incorporating measures into the pharmacy standards, URAC can facilitate quality improvement and innovation in the industry," said Alan Spielman, president and CEO of URAC. "Additionally, URAC’s goal is to encourage organizations to focus on outcomes for consumers and a dedication to patient safety."

Visit URAC.org/pqm/ for more information about these revised standards.

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PHARMACY

Pfizer to recall lot of Lipitor

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Pfizer on Monday announced that it intends to recall one lot — approximately 19,000 bottles — of Lipitor 40-mg tablets (atorvastatin calcium) distributed in the United States because of one customer’s report of an uncharacteristic odor related to the bottles in which these lots of Lipitor were packaged.

The bottles were supplied by a third-party bottle manufacturer. A medical assessment found that the risk of health consequences to patients appears to be minimal, Pfizer reported.

The market action is the result of Pfizer’s increased surveillance of odor-related issues after other reports in the industry. This increased surveillance also led to three earlier recalls of Lipitor, implemented in August, October and November 2010, in response to infrequent complaints of uncharacteristic odor.

“We have identified the source of the odor, and we are enacting rigorous measures to prevent odor-related issues going forward,” Pfizer stated in a press release. “The lot that will be recalled was packaged and shipped before these changes went into effect in August of this year. As previously reported, product filled in bottles made by the supplier prior to those changes may still be on the market, so it is possible that additional recalls could be necessary.”

Pfizer does not anticipate a product shortage resulting from the recall.

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