PHARMACY

FDA approves first U.S. drug for IBS-C

BY Adam Kraemer

WASHINGTON Takeda and Sucampo Pharmaceuticals’ Amitiza, indicated for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for women over the age of 18, according to published reports.

IBS, an ailment characterized by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea, affects twice as many women as men, the FDA said. The reason for Amitiza’s approval for women only, however, was based on a lack of proof that the drug was effective for men.

“For some people IBS can be quite disabling, making it difficult for them to fully participate in everyday activities,” said Julie Beitz of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This drug represents an important step in helping to provide medical relief from their symptoms.”

Amitiza (lubiprostone) is already approved for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation, though at a much higher dosage than for treatment of IBS-C.

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ACM, Emdeon partner to bring enhancements in technology to claims system

BY Drew Buono

MINNEAPOLIS The health care benefits management company ACM and Emdeon, which provides an electronic claims network for the health care industry have announced a new alliance that will bring technological enhancements to the claims solution system that Emdeon uses.

ACM’s MedRxPrecision technology solution will add a claims management tool for drug claims processed under the medical benefit that features automated re-pricing and editing using National Drug Code-level data.

According to Gary Stuart, executive vice president of Emdeon, “Through this technology partnership, Emdeon is able to expand the essential services we provide to our clients and offer them the opportunity to exploit the power of ACM’s technology, seamlessly integrated and delivered through our network. Together we now can provide clients with enhanced capabilities to re-price drug claims, add advanced claim edits, reduce error rates for these pharmacy claims, and bring even more cost savings to their bottom line.”

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Brokaw reminds NACDS Annual attendees of uncertainty in the past

BY Antoinette Alexander

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Offering attendees of NACDS Annual a look at the world and a glimpse back in time, was author and broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw, former NBC News anchorman and managing editor of the program NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, who wrapped up Sunday’s Business Program I with an intriguing and inspirational presentation.

Americans today are faced with a myriad of uncertainties as the war rages on in Iraq, the economy wobbles, the housing market sinks and the global climate sparks concern. To top it off, the nation is going through what is the most important presidential election since 1968. However, in an effort to remind attendees that this isn’t the first time the nation has faced uncertainties, Brokaw took industry members on a trip back in time to the 1960s.

“I know it may seem as if this is a time of great trial and challenge, and it is. … There is probably an inclination to think, ‘Oh my God, times have never been worse. We have subprime mortgages, high gas prices, World War in two different countries. What is going to happen to us?’ Let me take you back 40 years ago,” said Brokaw, who has a distinguished record as a political reporter and has a series of “firsts,” including being the first and only anchor to report from the scene the night the Berlin Wall fell.

Throughout much of his presentation, Brokaw recounted many of the tribulations that took place during those years—including the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War and race riots—and shared stories he has carried with him throughout the years.

Brokaw also addressed the presidential election and stressed the need for Americans to get involved and to send a signal to the next generation.

“We need to get involved now. And most of all we need to send a signal to the next generation coming up. This is how we define ourselves and our country and the system every four years. We are not spectators in the process,” said Brokaw. “When we have gotten in trouble, as I believe that we have in the last 10 to 12 years in this country, it is because we have allowed ourselves to be shut out of the process.”

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