PHARMACY

FDA approves Pfizer drug for hot flashes

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new treatment for hot flashes and the prevention of osteoporosis, the agency said.

The FDA announced the approval of Duavee (conjugated estrogens; bazedoxifene), made by Pfizer. The drug is for women who suffer from moderate to severe hot flashes associated with menopause, and is also designed to prevent osteoporosis after menopause.

The drug is the first approved by the agency that combines estrogen with an estrogen agonist or antagonist, in this case bazedoxifene, which is designed to reduce the risk of excessive growth of the lining of the uterus, also known as endometrial hyperplasia, which can occur from estrogen. The drug is only meant for postmenopausal women who still have a uterus.

 

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WSJ: ACA to eat up Medicare Part D’s doughnut hole by 2020

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Next year, the share of brand-name drugs paid by Medicare Part D beneficiaries will drop to 47.5%. The share of generics will drop to 72%, according to a report published Monday in The Wall Street Journal.

And by 2020, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have bridged the gap between what has commonly been referred to as the doughnut hole altogether — seniors will continue to cover only 25% of the cost of either brand-name medicines or generic medicines. 

"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which had a rocky launch last week, Medicare beneficiaries will see that gap shrink again in 2014 and in each year until 2020, according to Medicare.gov," The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Study finds continued overprescribing of antibiotics

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Doctors have continued prescribing antibiotics for mild conditions that don’t require them despite decades of efforts by government authorities to discourage the practice, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, published online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine and presented last week at IDWeek, found that while only 10% of adults with sore throats have strep throat — a bacterial infection — the rate of prescriptions of antibiotics for the condition has remained at 60%; for acute bronchitis, the rate was 73%, even though the appropriate rate of antibiotic prescriptions for that condition should be "near 0%."

"We know that antibiotic prescribing, particularly to patients who are not likely to benefit from it, increases the prevalence of antibiotic-resistance, a growing concern both here in the United States and around the world," Brigham and Women’s physician and researcher and senior study author Jeffrey Linder said.

The study was based on a measurement of changes in antibiotic prescribing for adults with sore throat and acute bronchitis using nationally representative surveys of ambulatory care in the United States from 1996 to 2010, representing 39 million visits to primary care clinics or emergency departments due to acute bronchitis and 92 million visits due to sore throat. The lack of change in prescriptions occurred despite a reduction in the number of visits to primary care offices for sore throat between 1997 and 2010. During roughly the same period, emergency room visits for sore throat remained unchanged, while acute bronchitis visits increased.

 

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