PHARMACY

Gene Logic to search for secondary paths for Merck pipeline

BY Drew Buono

GAITHERSBURG, Md. Gene Logic has entered into a drug repositioning and development agreement with Merck Serono, to seek other development paths for several of Merck Sereno’s drug candidates.

The drug candidates, which were discontinued or de-prioritized in clinical trials for reasons other than safety would give payments to Gene Logic based on success milestone and royalties, although these would be discounted to account for Merck Serono’s contribution.

If Gene Logic identifies a new potential therapeutic use that Merck Serono chooses not to develop, they can receive an exclusive license for the drug and would then pay Merck Serono royalty and success-based milestone payments.

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NACDS applauds Senate efforts to delay tamper-resistant prescription paper deadline

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Tuesday applauded the Senate passage of a bill that will delay the use of tamper-resistant prescription paper for Medicaid prescriptions.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Senators Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich (D and R-Ohio, respectively), introduced their legislation, which provides a six-month delay to the Oct. 1 implementation date requiring all Medicaid prescriptions to be written on tamper-resistant prescription paper.

The anti-fraud legislation was created as a provision in an Iraq war bill, which was passed in May. The NACDS has said that though it supports efforts to curb fraud and abuse, they also believe that four months is not enough time for physicians across the country to comply with such a widespread change. As a result, the NACDS applauded the Senate’s efforts to impede the new policy.

NACDS also said that after working with the National Community Pharmacy Association to address the change, they found that more than 535,000 Medicaid physicians validated the concern that many are not aware of this requirement or what they need to do to be in compliance.

“Pharmacists take great pride in their work and serving their patients,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “The possibility of pharmacists being forced to turn away patients from receiving their medication is an unacceptable risk and one that pharmacists should not have to make.”

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Suit vs. big drug wholesaler can go forward, judge rules

BY Jim Frederick

NEW YORK A class-action suit against McKesson Corp. can go forward, a federal judge has ruled, allowing consumers in the suit to pursue claims that the health care service and drug distribution giant engaged in a pricing fraud.

According to a report from the Reuters news agency, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris certified the suit after concluding that the plaintiffs in the case had a “persuasive argument” in alleging that McKesson and First Databank together set an artificially high average wholesale price for drugs reimbursed by Medicaid and private insurers. Among the plaintiff class are consumers who made co-payments on branded prescription drugs between 2001 and 2005, according to the report.

McKesson does not comment on pending litigation.

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