Ill. legislature defeats biosimilar bill
WASHINGTON — Another bill to limit dispensing of biosimilars lost Monday, this time in Illinois.
The state’s legislature voted not to advance S.B. 1934, supported by such biotech companies as Amgen and Genentech, which would slow patients’ access to knock-off versions of biotech drugs by restricting pharmacists’ ability to dispense them. Illinois is the 13th state to defeat such a bill; a similar bill died in Texas’ state legislature last week.
"In state after state, proposed restrictions on access to biosimilars are just additional layers of red tape and road blocks," said Ralph Neas, president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, a generics industry trade group. "Legislators have recognized that these provisions are thinly veiled attempts by Amgen and Genentech to ward off competition."
Medical group highlights connection between sleep apnea and hypertension, Type 2 diabetes
BALTIMORE — People with Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure should be evaluated for sleep apnea, a medical group said Monday.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advised that anyone with the two conditions be evaluated at its annual conference, SLEEP 2013.
According to the group, "overwhelming" evidence from studies has shown that patients with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous condition in which people experience complete or partial obstruction of the airways during sleep. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of the about 25.6 million diagnosed cases of diabetes in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 7-in-10 people with the condition have obstructive sleep apnea. Meanwhile, sleep apnea is estimated to affect 30% to 40% of the 67 million people with hypertension.
"Type 2 diabetics and people with hypertension are much more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than other people, and as a result should immediately discuss their risk for sleep apnea with a sleep specialist," AASM president Safwan Badr said. "Diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea from a board-certified sleep medicine physician will promote improvement in these conditions, including improved insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and cholesterol."
CVS/pharmacy supporting medical research for ALS cure via in-store fundraiser
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy has announced the launch of its annual in-store Advancing Medical Research fundraising campaign to support medical research and help improve the quality of life for those living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
"As a pharmacy innovation company that is committed to helping people on their path to better health, CVS Caremark supports organizations and medical research that address important healthcare issues," stated Jon Roberts, EVP for CVS Caremark and honorary chair of the Advancing Medical Research Campaign. "For the past 11 years, we’ve been able to make a significant impact in advancing ALS research with support from our colleagues and customers. Through the Advancing Medical Research campaign, we continue to make a difference in the lives of those who are living with ALS and support groundbreaking developments to help bring us one step closer to ending this devastating disease."
Funds raised through the campaign will benefit the ALS Therapy Alliance, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing ALS research. Supporters of the 2013 campaign can donate $1 or $3 at the register in CVS/pharmacy locations nationwide and online at www.cvs.com/als through June 29.
ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by progressive degeneration of motor nerves in the brain and spinal cord, typically leading to paralysis and death within four to six years. There is no known cause or cure for ALS, which affects approximately 30,000 Americans, with 5,600 new cases diagnosed nationwide each year.
But a new research grant, funded by CVS/pharmacy, is exploring gene silencing therapies that aim to end the progression of ALS in patients and provide new leads for solving other degenerative disorders.
CVS/pharmacy has raised more than $30 million in support of ALS research over the past 11 years. Through the Advancing Medical Research campaign, CVS/pharmacy will continue to help ATA drive medical research, including the development of groundbreaking gene silencing therapies, with the goal to end ALS.