Maryland state legislature shelves biosimilars legislation
WASHINGTON — Legislation designed to limit the use of biosimilars has met defeat in Maryland.
The legislation, which would limit the ability of pharmacists to substitute follow-on biologics for branded biotech drugs, failed to go forward in the state legislature. Last month, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a similar bill into law, but the bill contained a sunset clause that will cause it to expire after five years, while the Florida Senate Committee on Health Policy passed a similar bill, also with a sunset clause. So far, North Dakota is the only state to pass such a bill intact.
"We applaud the Maryland state legislature for making this wise decision," Generic Pharmaceutical Association president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "After hours of testimony, members of the House were convinced that now is not the time to take action."
Similar legislation has also met rejection in the state legislatures of Arizona, Mississippi and Washington.
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Cardinal Health Foundation helps combat Rx drug abuse with Generation Rx University
DUBLIN, Ohio — With the growing concern of the abuse of prescription stimulants like Adderall on college campuses, the Cardinal Health Foundation and the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy on Wednesday introduced Generation Rx University, the fourth in a series of interactive toolkits designed to help reduce the abuse of prescription drugs.
"The average age when prescription drug abuse starts is around 21,” stated Ken Hale, assistant dean for professional and external affairs at the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. “It’s critical that our colleges and universities do more to help prevent this potentially deadly behavior, and this new toolkit is designed to help them do that.”
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, full-time college students aged 18 to 22 were twice as likely as their counterparts who were not full-time college students to have used Adderall nonmedically in the past year. And the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reported at least one study showing that 34% of students at a large university used a prescription stimulant drug when they felt academic stress, believing that these drugs increased reading comprehension, cognition and memory.
Generation Rx University was created by college students for college students and includes discussion-based and performance-based resources intended to help deliver programs on college campuses. The collegiate-focused material includes PowerPoint presentations and scripts, facilitator notes, workbooks, handouts, and posters to help foster conversation and educate participants. The toolkit also includes a guide for creating a reality skit and encourages actors to remain in character for a question-and-answer session following a theatrical performance.
The collegiate toolkit was piloted in August at the 2012 Collegiate Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Conference at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The two-day conference, sponsored by the Cardinal Health Foundation and other drug abuse prevention organizations, brought together 120 students, faculty and staff from 28 colleges and universities nationwide and featured panels of experts, breakout workshops and networking opportunities.
“The Collegiate Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Conference at the Ohio State University generated incredible awareness and enthusiasm to tackle this issue,” commented Dianne Radigan, director community relations Cardinal Health. “We’re pleased to be able to support schools that are pioneering a concerted effort to prevent prescription drug abuse, and we look forward to collaborating with them again in 2013 to celebrate the results of their work and share best practices.”
Cardinal Health has again collaborated with the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists to promote Generation Rx University. Since 2010, the organizations have worked together to provide a comprehensive education program to aid pharmacists and student pharmacists in educating their communities about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
Generation Rx University can be found at cardinalhealth.com/generationrx. The original Generation Rx toolkit, a second toolkit aimed at youth, and another aimed at helping seniors prevent medication misuse can also be found on the site.
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Americans consider addiction a greater problem than chronic pain, poll shows
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A majority of Americans say chronic pain ranks far below drug addiction as a major health problem, according to a new poll.
The 1,016-person poll, commissioned by Research!America and conducted online by Zogby Analytics, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, found that 18% of respondents said chronic pain was a major health problem, while 50% say the same about addiction. At the same time, 63% said they knew someone who sought prescription drugs to treat pain due to its severity, while 82% said taking prescription painkillers long-term could result in addiction, and 85% expressed concern that prescription pain drugs could be abused or misused. About 1.9 million people in the United States are addicted to prescription painkillers, according to the National Institutes of Health, and unintentional deaths from overdoses on the drugs have quadrupled over the past 14 years, outnumbering those from heroin and cocaine combined.
"We need to better understand addiction," Research!America president and CEO Mary Woolley said. "We shouldn’t shy away from research on new pain treatments based on fears of abuse. The suffering is simply too great. More robust investment in research and the engagement and support of policy makers and healthcare providers are essential to developing effective strategies to reduce the prevalence of addiction."
Other findings in the poll included 66% of respondents saying they were unaware of tamper- and abuse-resistant formulations for some prescription painkillers, while 60% said chronic pain tends to be dismissed by doctors and the public. Fifty-four percent say doctors don’t discuss the possibility of addiction or dependence enough with their patients, and 52% would support limits on the amount and dosage of pain drugs doctors can prescribe.