PHARMACY

Illinois governor receives flu shot at Walgreens to emphasize flu prevention

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — In an effort to emphasize the importance of being protected against the flu, Illinois governor Pat Quinn visited a Chicago Walgreens to receive his seasonal flu shot.

Walgreens, which announced earlier this week that it was teaming up with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide flu shot vouchers to uninsured Americans, offers flu shots at its pharmacies at Take Care Clinics daily, with no appointment necessary.

Quinn received his flu shot Friday at Walgreens on 933 N. State St. in Chicago.

“For those who haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, it’s prime time for prevention with changes in the weather, the holiday travel season and many other ways in which germs and viruses spread this time of year,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions. “We’re proud to have [governor Quinn] reinforce the need for protection and prevention with his flu shot, and helping to recognize the access we provide to immunizations through our network of pharmacists and more than 600 points of care across Illinois.”

National Influenza Vaccination Week kicks off Sunday.


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San Francisco health plan switches pharmacy benefit manager to keep Walgreens in network

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — As of January 2012, Chinese Community Health Plan will transition to a new pharmacy benefits management company, Navitus Health Solutions, from Express Scripts to provide its members with continued access to Walgreens pharmacies, the health plan subsidiary of Chinese Hospital in San Francisco announced Friday.

According to the health plan, the move was made to maintain access to those Walgreens pharmacies. "In San Francisco, Walgreens is a leading pharmacy provider and operates the only 24-hour pharmacies in the city," the company stated.

“Our concern is for the continuity of care for the residents we serve in this area," stated Larry Loo, director of business development and operations for CCHP. "Having access to medications in a timely fashion is an important part of their overall health care. Removing access from a neighborhood Walgreens to another drug store downtown or in a different part of [San Francisco] could generate scenarios in which seniors or other individuals cannot fully access the medicines they need.”


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Six retailers charge Wyeth, Teva with unlawfully delaying generic Effexor XR

BY Michael Johnsen

TRENTON, N.J. — Six retailers on Wednesday filed suit naming Wyeth and Teva Pharmaceuticals as defendants and alleging that the defendants unlawfully delayed the entry of generic versions of Wyeth’s antidepressant Effexor XR (venlafaxine). A summons was issued to Wyeth and Teva on Thursday.

The retailers include Ahold USA, H-E-B, Kroger, Safeway, Supervalu and Walgreens. The companies are suing for three-times damages plus attorneys fees.

Wyeth was acquired by Pfizer in October 2009.

"Although Wyeth’s marketing exclusivity for the original compound patent for Effexor XR lapsed on June 13, 2008, the first generic equivalent was foreclosed for two more years, until July 2010, and other generics (including Wyeth’s authorized generic) remained foreclosed until June 2011," wrote the plaintiffs in a 79-page complaint. The suit alleged that Wyeth fraudulently procured three patents for extended-release formulations of venlafaxine hydrochloride and engaged in "serial sham litigation" to block and delay generic entry. The suit further alleged that Wyeth colluded with Teva to delay generic introduction of the antidepressant by Teva.

For the nine months ended Oct. 2, Pfizer reported $537 million in Effexor XR sales, down 64.5% as compared with the nine months ended Oct. 3, 2010.

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