PHARMACY

BIO asks Congress to restore SBIR grant eligibility

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Biotechnology Industry Organization is asking Congress to restore eligibility for many small biotech companies to allow them to compete for Small Business Innovation Research grants.

Small biotech companies have been ineligible to compete for SBIR grants since 2003.

The organization is asking Congress at a Congressional roundtable held by the Senate Committee on small business and entrepreneurship that is preparing for the upcoming reauthorization of the SBIR program, a program designed to support small business innovation.

“By excluding these biotech companies from the SBIR program, a less competitive system is preventing the best science and innovation from being funded. Meanwhile, some companies have taken advantage of the system by receiving hundreds of awards,” said Alan Eisenberg, BIO executive vice president for Emerging Companies and Business Development. “Without SBIR grants, companies have been forced to postpone, sometimes indefinitely, promising new therapies. This is not in the best interest of patients.”

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FDA supports Medicare rule on anemia drugs

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is agreeing with Medicare on restrictions for government payments for anemia drugs made by Amgen and Johnson & Johnson, according to Bloomberg.

Payment rules set by Medicare, are “generally consistent’’ with prescribing information for use of the drugs in cancer patients, the Food and Drug Administration said in a letter released today by Representatives Pete Stark and Henry Waxman.

Medicare said back in July that they would not pay for the drugs, Epogen, Aranesp, and Procrit used in cancer patients with hemoglobin levels exceeding 10 grams a deciliter. The companies are trying to convince Medicare that the drugs were safe to use up to 13 grams.

U.S. sales of Amgen’s Aranesp fell 19 percent in the second quarter after the FDA warned doctors to dispense the lowest doses possible to minimize heart risks. Sales of Johnson & Johnson’s Procrit fell 15 percent in the third quarter.

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My Clinic to open 12 clinics nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

HOUSTON Intrepid Holdings, founder of My Healthy Access, announced that subsidiary My Clinic company has opened twelve new retail clinic models in a national retail pharmacy chain, the company said Tuesday.

The first of these clinics, located in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio will provide care for non-threatening medical conditions, the company said. Certified nurse practitioners or physician assistants will provide care with physician oversight.

A leading provider of clinic, pharmacy and related healthcare services to the urban marketplace, Intrepid Holdings believes that these clinics will provide greater access to quality, convenient and affordable healthcare for non-emergency conditions such as pink eye, colds, and ear and eye infections.

“My Clinic offers patients access to a quality, convenient and affordable healthcare solution in their local community retail pharmacies that they trust and depend on for their prescription needs,” said Toney Means, president of Intrepid Holdings and chief executive officer the Clinic Group. “These patients now have the opportunity to receive quality, affordable and convenient medical care for non emergency episodic conditions in their local community pharmacy.”

Intrepid’s My Healthy Access currently operates clinics in select Wal-Mart supercenters in Houston.

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