PHARMACY

Auralgan otic solution seized by government officials

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has seized supplies of a drug used to treat ear infections, under a program the agency started to remove unapproved drugs from the market.

The FDA announced the seizure of about $16.5 million worth of Auralgan otic solution made by Brooks, Ky.-based Integrated Commercialization Solutions. Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Deston Therapeutics manufactures the drug, while ICS warehouses it.

The FDA said Deston’s sale of the drug violates federal law because it does not have approval from the FDA, which issued a warning letter to the company in February 2010.

The FDA started the Unapproved Drugs Initiative in 2006 to target companies selling drugs that have not gone through the agency’s approval process. In most cases, the drugs are in a sort of regulatory limbo, having entered the market before the FDA adopted its current drug-safety standards in 1938, with some of them existing since the 1800s.

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PHARMACY

Sean Whelan named Diplomat’s new CFO

BY Alaric DeArment

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy has hired a new CFO, the company said.

Diplomat announced the appointment of Sean Whelan, citing his experience as a CFO in the healthcare industry. Whelan will report directly to president and CEO Phil Hagerman.

“Sean’s comprehensive financial background is exactly what we need as we continue to create new products and services for the specialty pharmacy industry,” Hagerman said. “His experience in all areas of finance and managing a publicly held healthcare company brings the needed financial platform to support our growth.”

Before Diplomat hired him, Whelan worked for InfuSystem Holdings, a company that supplies infusion pumps for cancer patients. Before that, he worked in financial positions for Ford Motor from 1996 to 2007.

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N.Y. Medicaid program redesign could save state millions

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The New York State Health Department has proposed a plan that could save the state’s Medicaid program $350 million through 2015.

The proposal would redesign the program so that it acts more like Medicare and private insurers. According to the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, a trade group for pharmacy benefit managers, the program currently uses fewer generic drugs and pays pharmacists twice what they get from private insurers and Medicare.

“Medicaid shouldn’t pay more for Medicaid drug benefits than private insurers and Medicare do,” PCMA president and CEO Mark Merritt said. “Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s been happening in New York. By simply modernizing Medicaid drug benefits and bringing costs more in line with other programs, New York will save $350 million without cutting patient benefits.”

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