PHARMACY

Lawsuit challenging ESI-Medco merger begins

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Pharmacies hoping to block the merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions got their day in court Tuesday, according to published reports.

Bloomberg reported that a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania began in Pittsburgh, with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association and several independent pharmacies hoping to stop the $29.1 billion merger, which the Federal Trade Commission approved last week.

In response, ESI has requested that the lawsuit be dismissed because the NACDS, NCPA and pharmacies waited too long to file their suit, having sued to prevent the merger on March 29, Bloomberg reported.


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PHARMACY

Rite Aid sends extra whooping cough booster vaccine doses to Washington state

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — A reported "epidemic" of whooping cough in Washington has prompted at least one retail pharmacy chain to increase supplies of booster vaccines for the disease.

Rite Aid announced Tuesday that it had brought in extra doses of Tdap to its 140 stores in the state. The announcement follows a report from the state’s Department of Health that there had been 640 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, so far this year, a sevenfold increase compared with the same three-month period in 2011.

"Rite Aid pharmacists stand ready to give parents and caretakers help shielding their children against this dangerous disease," said Nirmal Singh, VP pharmacy for the region that includes Washington. "A quick trip to the neighborhood Rite Aid can help protect loved ones for years to come."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a whooping cough booster vaccine for everyone ages 11 years and older, as well as children as young as 7 years old if any of the five regularly scheduled whooping cough vaccinations are missed. The disease is particularly dangerous for infants, and about half of those under a year of age require hospitalization, according to the CDC.


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Prasco launches authorized generic blood-pressure drug

BY Alaric DeArment

CINCINNATI — Prasco Labs has launched an authorized generic version of a blood-pressure drug made by Shionogi, the company said.

Prasco announced the launched of nisoldipine extended-release tablets in the 8.5-mg, 17-mg and 34-mg strengths.

The drug is an authorized generic version of Shionogi’s Sular. Authorized generics are branded drugs marketed under their generic names at reduced prices, usually under a partnership between the branded drug’s manufacturer and an outside company.


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