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Biosimilar bill defeated in Texas

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Texas has become the latest state to defeat a bill that critics say would limit the reach of knock-off versions of biotech drugs.

Texas’ state legislature defeated Senate Bill 190, which is similar to bills in other states that would make it harder for pharmacists to substitute biosimilars for branded biotech drugs. Similar bills have been defeated in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada and Washington. The bills in Virginia and Utah passed, but with sunset clauses that are expected to cause them to expire before biosimilars become available; only the bill in North Dakota passed intact, and five other states are considering them.

"Against great odds, key leadership stood firmly in favor of patient health and cost savings by stopping this legislation right in its tracks," Generic Pharmaceutical Association president and CEO Ralph Neas said. The GPhA, a trade group that represents generic drug makers, cited data from pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts showing that biosimilar versions of 11 widely used biologics could save the U.S. healthcare system $250 billion between 2014 and 2024.

 

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‘Go Time’ declared for NACDS Total Store Expo participants

BY Jason Owen

ARLINGTON, Va. — With about 80 days until the launch of the first-ever NACDS Total Store Expo, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is calling on participants to plan ahead to maximize their results from the innovative new strategic exchange and trade show. The inaugural event will debut August 10 to 13, 2013 at Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Year-to-date retailer registration for the 2013 NACDS Total Store Expo stands 20% ahead of 2012 year-to-date retailer registration for the three NACDS conferences that formed the basis for the greatly expanded venue for conducting business: the Marketplace Conference, Pharmacy & Technology Conference and Supply Chain & Logistics Conference. The Exhibit Hall is more than 98% sold out.

“The laser now focuses on helping retailers and suppliers do the planning and execution that will help this amazing turnout translate to maximum results for their companies,” said NACDS President and CEO Steve Anderson, IOM, CAE.

“From the first day that we announced the NACDS Total Store Expo, we emphasized that the innovative format would help business partners work together creatively across functions, and with the entire store in mind. It is now ‘go time’ to make and execute the plans that will deliver on the needs of consumers and pharmacy patients. It is time to schedule the meetings with the right combinations of team members to make a difference in new ways.”

The website at tse.nacds.org includes state-of-the-art resources to help exhibitors and retailers plan effectively for the meeting. It includes video tutorials, preparation checklists, a meeting-scheduling tool and other resources and insights.

Also, a mobile app will foster success before and during the event. New features of the app include the ability to create a profile that will help participants link up correctly with their counterparts in partner companies, as well as GPS-based assistance in locating exhibitors on the show floor.

“The business potential at the NACDS Total Store Expo is shaping up just as the industry envisioned it,” Anderson said. “Beyond the strategic exchange, NACDS has applied the same truly total store focus to the entire conference agenda — from the educational programming to special areas in the Exhibit Hall that will focus on innovation. The rewards for engaging in the right ways in the NACDS Total Store Expo will include business success, new insights, bold ideas and a creative vision for defining the future, and we look forward to hearing the results earned from the preparation that is being done by companies right now.”


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GSK buys Switzerland-based Okairos

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has acquired Swiss vaccine development company Okairos for $325 million, GSK said Wednesday.

Privately owned Okairos develops technologies used to create vaccines, and GSK said it would use them in the development of the "next generation" of vaccines for preventing infections and for treatment of infections and diseases, saying it would allow the development of the "next generation.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for patients and our research organization as it is expected to contribute to the development efforts for an exciting new generation of vaccines, building on the excellent science and expertise of both companies," GSK Vaccines president Christophe Weber said.

Okairos’ work focuses on diseases like respiratory syncytial virus, hepatitis C, malaria, tuberculosis, ebola and HIV.

 

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