PHARMACY

Mylan launches generic version of Forest Labs’ Lexapro

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Mylan has launched a generic drug for treating depression and anxiety, the company said Wednesday.

Mylan announced the launch of escitalopram tablets in the 5-mg, 10-mg and 20-mg strengths, the first generic version of Forest Labs’ Lexapro. The drug is used for treating major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

Lexapro had sales of about $2.9 billion in 2011, according to IMS Health. Mylan said it would market its version exclusively until Lexapro’s period of market exclusivity for use in children expires, according to an agreement between Forest Labs and Mylan’s Alphapharm subsidiary.


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PHARMACY

NCPA sends second letter addressing CMS’ double-billing of certain enrollment fees

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The National Community Pharmacists Association last week sent a follow-up letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services asking the agency to revisit a decision last month that effectively requires some pharmacies to pay duplicative fee-for-service Medicare enrollment/revalidation fees, according to the association.

The fee in question concerns CMS’ interpretation of a 2010 Affordable Care Act requirement where CMS is requiring Medicare provider/supplier enrollees to pay an enrollment/revalidation application fee twice, if the provider/supplier enrolls or revalidates through both an 855S and 855B enrollment/revalidation form for services or items, such as vaccinations and diabetes supplies. "These fees hit small independent pharmacies disproportionately who are already overly burdened in Part B by excessive accreditation fees, aggressive audits, and low payments," NCPA’s SVP government affairs John Coster wrote. "Pharmacies are simply at the breaking point with these additional dual revalidation fees," he added.

"CMS is in plain violation of the ACA statutory requirement on application fees and should revise the relevant regulation to require each institutional provider to pay a single application/revalidation fee, regardless of whether or not that provider has enrolled or revalidated using multiple 855 forms."

NCPA, along with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the Food Marketing Institute and the American Pharmacists’ Association, originally sent a letter addressing the situation in November 2011. CMS replied to that letter Jan. 19.


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NACDS endorses ‘The Online Pharmacy Safety Act’

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Tuesday expressed support for H.R. 4095, “The Online Pharmacy Safety Act,” which the organization said will help consumers protect themselves against the growing threat of illegitimate online drug sellers.

NACDS sent a letter in support of the bill to its sponsors, Reps. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Mike Ross, D-Ark. 

The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to create a public registry of law-abiding online pharmacy websites for consumer use.

“Your legislation takes important steps to protect the American public from unscrupulous Internet drug sellers that prey on unsuspecting Americans by posing as legitimate pharmacies and deceptively selling counterfeit, adulterated or misbranded medicines,” NACDS stated in its letter to the lawmakers.



The legislation “will provide Americans with the means to protect themselves against this growing threat by ensuring they have the resources they need to recognize safe and legitimate online pharmacies,” NACDS stated.  



Research indicates that approximately 17% of Americans — more than 36 million consumers — have purchased medication online without a valid prescription.  Research also shows that up to 96% of the online prescription drug websites that U.S. consumers encounter are these illegitimate sites.



“We thank you for your strong commitment to protecting the health and safety of the American public through this thoughtful bill. As Congress continues to debate issues related to prescription drug safety, distribution and access, we believe that the ‘Online Pharmacy Safety Act’ should be an integral part of that discussion and that its enactment should be a top priority,” NACDS stated in its letter.

NACDS also supports companion bipartisan Senate legislation sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.


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K.CHARLES says:
Jan-29-2013 10:52 am

I can't believe some people would care so little for the human life to sell fake drugs to sick people, it's unbelievable! And here I was thinking that securing information is more than enough to deal with internet threats, I guess you need more to keep the scammers at bay. Hopefully the law change will be enough to protect us...

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