PHARMACY

AstraZeneca adds ‘click-to-chat’ feature to Crestor, Nexium websites

BY Allison Cerra

WILMINGTON, Del. — AstraZeneca has launched a new technology on two of its products’ websites to give consumers an option to contact a live AstraZeneca customer service representative with just a click of a button.

The drug maker said the “click-to-chat” feature will appear on Crestor’s and Nexium’s websites, Crestor.com and PurplePill.com, respectively. Click-to-chat is a live, online chat option, similar to instant messaging, that can be accessed through each website’s “Contact Us” page.

“AstraZeneca understands that our consumers want flexibility, especially when it comes to health information,” said AstraZeneca Information Center senior director Donna Holder. “This new resource enables consumers to have easier access to the information they seek through the convenience of a real-time, online channel.”

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Aegerion appoints new CFO

BY Allison Cerra

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A biopharmaceutical company has appointed a new CFO.

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals named Mark Fitzpatrick as the company’s new CFO. Fitzpatrick joins the company, which is focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat severe lipid disorders, from Proteon Therapeutics, where he served as VP, CFO and assistant secretary.

In related news, Aegerion said it has been issued a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for lomitapide, which specifically is related to the treatment of hyperlipidemia or hypercholesterolemia, including severe hypercholesterolemia. The patent extends until August 2027 and may be eligible for listing in the Food and Drug Administration "Orange Book," the company said.

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DEA kicks off second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is hosting its second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this weekend, the agency said.

The free event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 30, addresses the proper disposal of unused or expired medications. The DEA is collaborating with government, community, public health and law enforcement partners at more than 5,100 sites nationwide. Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to DEA.gov and clicking on the “Got Drugs?” banner at the top of the homepage, which connects to a database that citizens can search by zip code, city or county.

Last September, Americans turned in more than 242,000 lbs. of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners, the agency said.

“The overwhelming public response to DEA’s first nationwide Take-Back event last fall not only rid homes of potentially harmful prescription drugs, but [also] was an unprecedented opportunity to educate everyone about the growing prescription drug abuse problem," said DEA administrator Michele Leonhart. “Studies have shown that, for many, prescription drugs are the very first drugs they abuse — and all too often they aren’t the last. That is why we are committed to helping Americans keep their homes safe by ridding their medicine cabinets of expired, unused and unwanted drugs.”

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