PHARMACY

Kaiser study shows Medicare benefits lacking for elderly

BY Alaric DeArment

MENLO PARK, Calif. Elderly people receive fewer benefits from Medicare than they would get from a large employer’s health plan or the plan for federal employees, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In 2007, elderly people would get $10,610 in benefits from Medicare, but a large employer’s plan would provide $12,160 worth of benefits, and the federal employees’ plan would provide $11,780.

The discrepancy results from Medicare’s higher inpatient deductible, which makes short stays in hospitals more expensive. In addition, Medicare doesn’t cover most dental care and limits ceilings on out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs to those covered by Part D plans.

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PHARMACY

Unapproved eye treatments get yanked by FDA

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration has told companies to stop selling eye solutions for use during surgery and for treating lesions without regulatory approval, citing dangerous side effects.

The drugs include ophthalmic balanced salt solutions for the eyes and topical drugs containing the papaya-based compound papain.

A number of companies have sold the unapproved eye drugs, including Baxter International and Hospira.

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PHARMACY

ImClone rejects bid from Bristol-Myers Squib

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Biotech ImClone has rejected an acquisition bid by Bristol-Myers Squibb, according to a letter that ImClone chairman Carl Icahn sent to Bristol chairman and chief executive officer James Cornelius Tuesday, calling the bid “absurd.”

On Monday, Bristol announced that it would increase its $60-per-share bid for the biotech to $62 a share, though this still fell short of the $70-per-share offer that ImClone has received from a thus-far undisclosed pharmaceutical company.

 

“Your letter of yesterday contains inaccuracies which are misleading to our shareholders,” Icahn wrote. “Your statements that there have not been any meaningful discussions concerning your proposal have no basis in fact. … I also told you a large Pharma company had offered $70 subject to due diligence and the diligence will be over on Sunday, September 28, 2008. In light of these facts, your hostile tender of $62, at this time, seems absurd.”

At the end of the letter, Icahn didn’t mince words.

“If you wish to make your attorneys wealthier, I can show you more productive ways to do so,” he wrote. “Or, if you simply want publicity, I can also help you in that regard without your having to make unnecessary expenditures.”

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