PHARMACY

MTM could take chunk out of the $290 billion in annual healthcare costs

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., argued before the Senate Thursday around the value that increased access to medication therapy management can deliver to overall health care — that includes cutting into the $290 billion in annual costs associated with medication nonadherence and preventing as many as 89,000 premature deaths.

“With as much as one-half of all patients [in the United States] not following doctor’s orders regarding their medications, medication therapy management could help reduce some of the wasted healthcare costs in our system,” Hagan said.

Pointing to the well-known Asheville Project, Hagan noted that medical costs have decreased among patients participating in that program by between $1,600 and $3,300 per year. In addition, there are 50% fewer sick days taken by participants, which translates into increased productivity gains of some $18,000 annually.

“The bill I am reintroducing today takes MTM one step further,” Hagan said. “Specifically, [the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011] would expand MTM eligibility to seniors with any chronic condition that accounts for high spending in our healthcare system, such as heart failure and diabetes.” Hagan concluded, “Expansion of MTM to more seniors will no doubt improve their overall health, while at the same time reducing waste in our healthcare system.”

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PHARMACY

ECR launches Zolpimist

BY Alaric DeArment

AMITYVILLE, N.Y. — Hi-Tech Pharmacal subsidiary ECR Pharmaceuticals has launched a drug for treating insomnia.

ECR announced Friday the launch of Zolpimist (zolpidem tartrate) oral spray. The drug comes in units that provide 60 metered sprays, administering 5-mg or 10-mg doses of the active ingredient. As a hypnotic agent, the drug is classified as a CIV controlled substance by the federal government.

“Zolpimist is a significant addition to ECR, our branded products subsidiary, and reflects our continuing commitment to build this segment of our business through the marketing of widely used, innovative products,” Novadel Pharma CEO Steven Ratoff said. Novadel developed the drug.

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PHARMACY

Alimera reports positive results of phase-3 study for Iluvien

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA — A drug designed to treat an eye condition caused by diabetes may provide a long-term option for patients, according to Alimera Sciences.

Alimera said in two three-year, phase-3 pivotal clinical trials — collectively known as the FAME Study — of Iluvien, which is designed to treat diabetic macular edema, the drug improved visual acuity among patients.

"This consistent response rate at month 24 and month 36, with a peak rate of 31.4% in month 30, is encouraging, and we believe demonstrates that Iluvien can provide a long-term option for the treatment of DME for up to three years," said Dan Myers, president and CEO of Alimera Sciences.

Alimera said the company will submit the data to the Food and Drug Administration, following a complete response letter it received from the agency in December 2010.

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