PHARMACY

FDA limits amount of acetaminophen in prescription drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration is capping the amount of the painkiller acetaminophen in prescription drugs due to the risk of liver toxicity, the agency said Thursday.

The FDA asked manufacturers of prescription drugs that contain the drug to limit it to 325 mg per tablet. The policy will be phased in over three years but does not affect over-the-counter products containing the drug, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol and Procter & Gamble’s NyQuil. The drug often appears in prescription painkillers, such as Endo Pharmaceuticals’ Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) and Abbott’s Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen).

Overdoses from prescription painkillers combining acetaminophen with another ingredient account for nearly half of all cases of acetaminophen-related liver failure, which often result in liver transplant or death, according to the FDA. The risk usually is increased when patients take multiple drugs containing acetaminophen at once and exceed the current maximum dose of 4,000 mg within a 24-hour period.

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PHARMACY

‘Unstoppable’ hauls its way to Blu-ray, DVD

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES — The tale of two courageous men that look to stop a half-mile-long freight train from destroying a city is barreling its way to Blu-ray and DVD, thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

"Unstoppable," an action-packed thriller starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, will be available Feb. 15. Both formats include several bonus features, including director commentary and script development.

"Unstoppable" on Blu-ray will carry a suggested retail price of $39.99 and will be available on DVD for an SRP of $29.98.

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Walgreens staking a multichannel approach

BY Jim Frederick

CHICAGO — With the explosion in such mobile devices as smart phones, Walgreens is expanding its access across an ever-wider array of options for health consumers, president and CEO Greg Wasson told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting Wednesday.

“We’ve made tremendous progress,” Wasson said, on the company’s mission “to become the leading multichannel retailer, which will also help get us closer to the consumer. Our goal is threefold,” he added. “We want to give them what they want, which may be a broader selection of products offered on our website than what we carry in our drug stores; where they want it, which may be delivered to their home or to pick up in our drug stores, and when they want it.

“For those who are shopping online and want to pick up at their Walgreens, it could be one hour with our new QuickShop pilot,” Wasson pointed out. “And for the emerging mobile shoppers, our new smart phone app makes it even more convenient.”

Driving the effort to broaden access points with consumers are studies that show “that multichannel shoppers are three times more valuable to a retailer than a single-channel shopper," Wasson said. "That’s why we’re driving this initiative so hard.”

In sum, chairman Alan McNally told shareholders, “with the accelerating growth of mobile technologies and social networking in our society, our company’s exceptional progress in advancing our e-commerce business during the last two years and our network of stores so conveniently located in communities across America, Walgreens has an enormous opportunity to become the nation’s leading multichannel retailer, where cyberspace meets the physical world in communities across America.”

On the health front, McNally added, “Our in-store and worksite health clinics, our expanding network of home infusion services, our growing support to patients with diabetes and other complex chronic illnesses, more than 7 million H1N1 and seasonal flu shots and other vaccinations and immunizations last year, these are all examples of Walgreens’ expanding role as a community-based pharmacy health-and-wellness healthcare provider … [with] convenient, local access to quality, affordable services for patients and unique and valuable solutions for employers, health plans and other payers.”

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