PHARMACY

More Kroger banners offer $4 generics, but some say list is limited

BY Diana Alickaj

Fred Meyer and QFC stores in Oregon and Washington are following in the footsteps of such major retailers as Wal-Mart, and Target in charging $4 for prescriptions of generic drugs, according to published reports.

Generics usually sell for an average of $20, but the chains, both Kroger companies, are offering $4 for a list of more than 150 medications, according to published reports. Among them are generic versions of Amoxil, Prozac and Claritin. The chain also is selling birth-control pills and fertility drugs for $9.

Some experts, however, are not fully convinced that Kroger’s new initiative will prove cheaper for consumers, as they state that the drugs that most people use today are not included in the 150 it is offering.

“It’s more of a marketing ploy than anything else,” claims Jim Thompson, executive director of the Oregon State Pharmacy Association. “This will save you money if you happen to have prescriptions for one or more of those drugs, but most people will find that they don’t. Most people will be lucky if they find that they have one of them.”

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Study shows no increased heart risk for newborns with mothers on Paxil

BY Drew Buono

TORONTO According to a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, infants whose mothers took the GlaxoSmithKline antidepressant drug Paxil during early pregnancy do not have an increased risk of heart defects.

The study was performed by the Motherisk program at the Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto. Almost 1,200 infants were studied and the results showed that infants who had been exposed to the medication had the same risk for the defects as infants not exposed, 0.7 percent.

GSK had originally published a report stating that risk of cardiovascular defects was 2 percent. Adrienne Einarson, the lead author of the new report called GSK’s initial report, “preliminary information.” GSK later adjusted its figure to 1.5 percent.

In general, the incidence of heart defects in the general population is about 1 percent.

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Personal injury lawsuit filed against makers of contaminated drug Heparin

BY Diana Alickaj

CAMDEN, N.J. A personal lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare has been filed following a near fatal reaction to the contaminated prescription drug Heparin, according to published reports.

Accounts of deaths and hundreds of severe allergic reactions stemmed from an active ingredient in the drug, which was identified as a chemically altered form of chondroitin sulfate. According to published reports, the chemical serves as a dietary supplement made from animal cartilage that is used to treat joint pain.

The contamination was rooted in China, where the drug is manufactured. The Federal Drug Administration filed a report on March 19 alerting the public of the dangers of taking the Heparin, and the medications were almost immediately recalled as a result.

“Prescription drug manufacturers have a duty to produce products that are safe and free of dangerous ingredients,” stated Wendy Fleishman of the New York City office of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein. “Only through a lawsuit or otherwise making a claim against Baxter can patients obtain compensation for their injuries. The American public needs the drug companies, like Baxter, to take responsibility for the safety of their products—especially those like Heparin, which are manufactured in part in China.”

The suit claims that Baxter did not adequately inspect the product before selling it, making them negligent, and as a result contributing to many unnecessary deaths.

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