Industry voices support for meth act
WASHINGTON —The industry-supported Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act, H.R. 2923, passed muster at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce last month. The bipartisan bill now has moved before the full U.S. House of Representatives for approval.
The bill would require retailers to self-certify with the Drug Enforcement Administration that they comply with current safeguards. These safeguards prevent single customers from purchasing suspiciously large quantities of certain products, require distributors of these products to sell only to retailers who are registered with the DEA and establish civil fines for those who fail to comply with the regulations.
“Our membership has long supported both local and national efforts to combat methamphetamine abuse and production,” Steve Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, wrote in a July 28 letter to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. “In fact, even before the introduction of state and federal legislation, the majority of the chain pharmacies took voluntary, proactive steps to reduce the theft and illegitimate use of products containing pseudoephedrine…. Moreover, our members have worked closely with DEA and state and local law enforcement officials since 1995 to stem the tide of methamphetamine production in communities across the United States.”
In addition to NACDS, the bill also is supported by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the Healthcare Distribution Management Association and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
BioMarin Pharmaceutical acquires ZyStor Therapeutics
NOVATO, Calif. BioMarin Pharmaceutical has acquired privately owned biotechnology company ZyStor Therapeutics for $22 million, BioMarin said.
The drug maker said it also would pay ZyStor up to $93 million in milestone payments. The main gem in the deal was ZC-701, ZyStor’s investigative treatment for the lysosomal storage disorder Pompe disease and a potential competitor to Genzyme Corp.’s Pompe disease treatment Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa). A phase 1/2 clinical study of ZC-701 in late-onset Pompe disease is expected to begin in first quarter 2011.
“The acquisition of ZyStor gives us the opportunity to introduce a superior product to fulfill an unmet medical need and is a perfect fit in our core business,” BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime stated. “It not only provides us with a promising product candidate for Pompe disease, but also an exciting new platform technology.”
Nurse practitioners are vital to a healthy U.S. healthcare system
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The USA Today article highlighting nurse-managed centers as one “innovative” program that could help fill the primary care physician void is important because it underscores the important role that nurse practitioners play in delivering quality healthcare services.
(THE NEWS: Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void. For the full story, click here)
It is no secret that the healthcare system has been, and will continue to be, under great strain as healthcare costs soar and a shortage of primary care doctors largely contributes to the bottle-necking taking place within emergency rooms.
According to numbers provided by the Convenient Care Association, as few as 2% of medical students coming out of U.S. medical schools intend to pursue a career in general primary care. Also, between 30% and 60% of convenient care clinic patients reported not having a primary care physician. Plus, as many as 40% of convenient care clinic patients said they would have sought costlier care or would have foregone care completely if there had not been a convenient care clinic available.
Clearly, there’s a gap that needs to be filled, and convenient care clinics and such clinics as the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia highlighted in the USA Today article, are striving to help fill that gap.
The good news is that the importance of nurse practitioners, as well as the retail-based clinic setting, is not going unnoticed. In fact, Senators Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., in July introduced the Senate resolution officially designating Aug. 2 to 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week.
Now, with about 30 million uninsured gaining healthcare coverage under healthcare reform and patients making fewer physician visits, either because they can’t afford it or can’t get an appointment in a timely fashion, the U.S. healthcare systems needs “innovative” programs and needs nurse practitioners.