PHARMACY

Hospira unveils new testing lab at N.C. plant

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Drug maker Hospira is investing more than $200,000 at a plant in Rocky Mount, N.C., that will evaluate and test more than 450 products, the company said Wednesday.

Hospira had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to announce the opening of its new quality and analytics testing laboratory, attended by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and other political leaders from the state.

"Rocky Mount’s new laboratory, coupled with our investments throughout the plant, will help ensure that we continue to supply high-quality, more affordable medicines to customers and patients who need them," Hospira VP Rocky Mount operations Marty Nealey said. "Through advanced technology and additional space, we’ve been able to gradually increase our production levels and ensure more consistent release of products, ultimately supporting our ability to provide a more sustainable supply of many life-impacting drugs."

The company also announced Wednesday the launch of the Sapphire infusion system, following its approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The system includes a large, color touchscreen for quick and easy programming, easily upgraded software and flexible infusion modes for all intended uses to simplify patient care across diverse clinical areas. Sapphire has already been launched in Europe and Canada.

 

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Manchester University begins search for new pharmacy school dean

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Indiana’s Manchester University has begun an "immediate" search for a new dean for its College of Pharmacy, the university said Wednesday.

The school is looking for a replacement for Dave McFadden, who will assume the presidency of the university on July 1, 2014, following the planned retirement of current president Jo Young Switzer, announced earlier this week. McFadden became dean of the College of Pharmacy in November 2012.

"We are looking for someone who will move our program forward and continue building strong partnerships in the region," Switzer said.

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CFC inhalers to be phased out by end of year, FDA says

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration plans to complete its phase out of inhalers that contain ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons by the end of the year, the agency said Wednesday.

The FDA said it planned to complete the phase-out of all CFC inhalers by Dec. 31 in order to comply with international treaties. CFCs are propellants used to help patients inhale medicines, but they also deplete the ozone layer, and the United States was a signatory to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, along with most other countries. CFCs have since been removed from hairsprays, deodorants and air conditioning.

Most of the products containing CFCs have already been phased out, and currently, only two remain on the market: Boehringer Ingelheim’s Combivent (ipratropium bromide; albuterol sulfate) and Medicis’ Maxair (pirbuterol). The albuterol CFC inhaler, the most commonly used one, was phased out in 2008 and replaced with inhalers that use propellants called hydrofluoroalkanes, or HFAs. BI has another inhaler with the sale active ingredient, Combivent Respimat (ipratropium bromide; albuterol) that uses a mechanical propellant system.

Inhalers are most often used by people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — a term that encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema — which respectively affect 25 million and 15 million people in the United States.

"CFCs were used as propellants to move the drug out of inhalers so that patients can inhale the medicine," FDA director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Rheumatology Products Badrul Chowdhury said. "For more than two decades, the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency have collaborated to phase-out CFCs in inhalers, a process that included input from the public, advisory committees, manufacturers and stakeholders."

 

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