PHARMACY

FDA warns consumers over fake products that claim to treat STDs

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on companies that it accuses of selling fake products for sexually transmitted diseases, the agency said.

The FDA said at least 15 products — some sold as dietary supplements — that claim to treat, prevent or cure such STDs as herpes, Chlamydia, genital warts and HIV/AIDS, were being sold online and at some retail stores. Brands include MedaVir, which claims to treat herpes; Gene-Eden, which claims to treat a range of STDs, as well as flu and mononucleosis; and several others.

“If you aren’t treating your STD with an FDA-approved medication, you’re not just putting your own health at risk — you could be endangering your partner,” FDA expert Debbie Birnkrant said.

The agency sent warning letters to 12 companies making the products, ordering them to stop or face regulatory action.

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PHARMACY

NACDS honors Tom Ryan, Mary Sammons with lifetime achievement awards

BY Antoinette Alexander

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On the final evening of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, the association for the first time honored two individuals in the same year with the Sheldon W. Fantle Lifetime Achievement Award: Mary Sammons, chairman of Rite Aid, and Tom Ryan, chairman of CVS Caremark.

Sammons joined Rite Aid in 1999 as president and COO, and subsequently served as CEO until 2010. She continues to serve as chairman of the board for the company. Previously, Sammons held several senior level positions with Fred Meyer Stores and became president and CEO of the company in 1998. She served as NACDS chairman from 2003 to 2005, and continues to serve on the NACDS board of directors.

Ryan started as a CVS pharmacist in 1974. His passion for business and his strategic leadership style propelled him into several senior level capacities with the company. In 1998, Ryan became president and CEO of CVS, positions he held until 2010. Subsequently, he also became chairman in 1999, a position he currently holds. Ryan served as NACDS chairman from 1997 to 1998, and continues to serve on the NACDS board of directors.

"Both Mary and Tom have demonstrated incredible leadership in guiding their respective companies for nearly four decades," said Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark and past chairman of the NACDS board of directors. "We applaud and honor them tonight with this award, and express our gratitude for their outstanding contributions to pharmacy."

The lifetime achievement award was established in 1989 to recognize exceptional accomplishments and contributions to the industry. It was renamed in 1996 in honor of the late Sheldon "Bud" Fantle of People’s Drug Stores.

"Bud was a personal friend and mentor, and I know he would appreciate the contributions of tonight’s honorees," Merlo added.

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Report: Novartis to boost biosimilars portfolio

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Novartis is making big investments in biosimilars, CEO Joe Jimenez said in an interview with Fortune magazine.

Jimenez told Fortune that the Swiss drug maker — which markets generics and biosimilars through its Sandoz division — was investing heavily in biosimilars and difficult-to-make generics for such conditions as cancer and respiratory disorders.

Sandoz makes biosimilars for markets worldwide, and also was the first to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market a generic version of Sanofi-Aventis’ blood thinner Lovenox (enoxaparin sodium); the FDA approved Lovenox as a pharmaceutical, but the drug’s chemical complexity means it has more in common with biotech drugs than with traditional pharmaceuticals.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which became law last year, contained a provision that created a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars in the United States.

Jimenez also said that rather than focusing on creating blockbuster drugs for such conditions as hypertension, Novartis was focusing on creating drugs that disrupted disease pathways and could have multiple indications.

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