PHARMACY

NACDS emphasizes importance of Rx compounding amid congressional hearings on meningitis outbreak

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives examined the meningitis outbreak this week, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores distinguished between the types of pharmacy compounding and the settings in which they take place, and emphasized the critical, life-saving benefits of pharmacy compounding.

NACDS stated that it has sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce — both of which held hearings on the outbreak on Nov. 14.

“The type of compounding tied to the recent meningitis outbreak — sterile compounding — is a much smaller subset of compounding, and sterile compounding must be performed in very controlled settings. Sterile compounding is not the kind of compounding that is typically available to a patient who walks into a chain pharmacy to fill a prescription,” NACDS stated in its letter.

NACDS also highlighted the importance of pharmacy compounding stating, “Compounding services are the only source of critical medications for millions of patients with unique health needs. For these patients, there are no commercially manufactured preparations available. Through compounding, pursuant to a prescription, pharmacies provide these patients with personalized medications.”

In the letter, NACDS also discussed that prescription compounding has been a traditional function of the practice of pharmacy since the beginning of the profession.

Community pharmacy also is committed as a partner in public health, healthcare delivery for patients and patient safety, NACDS stated. In the letter, NACDS highlighted community pharmacy’s efforts during the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak. Because of their extensive education and training, community pharmacists helped to meet the need for Tamiflu through their ability to compound liquid Tamiflu from capsules — and at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Pharmacists are trained to prepare compounded medications and are tested on this competency. State boards of pharmacy license pharmacies after ensuring, among other things, that they have the proper tools and equipment to compound prescription products. State boards of pharmacy regularly inspect pharmacies, including their compounding practices,” the letter stated.

NACDS also stressed its support for collaboration by FDA and state boards of pharmacy working together to identify sites that violate FDA’s compounding guidelines.

“We further support FDA and the state boards of pharmacy working together to investigate any questionable practices so that compounding is regulated appropriately and in the best interest of patients,” NACDS stated in the letter.
 

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Shipments of generic version of Bontril PDM begins

BY Alaric DeArment

NORTHVALE, N.J. — Initial shipment of a generic appetite suppressant has started, the drug’s manufacturer said Thursday.

Elite Pharmaceuticals announced the initial shipment of phendimetrazine tartrate tablets in the 35-mg strength, a generic version of Valeant’s Bontril PDM, under a manufacturing and supply agreement with Mikah Pharma. Actavis, recently acquired by Watson Pharmaceuticals, will distribute the drug as part of a distribution agreement between Mikah and Actavis.

Bontril PDM and generic versions of it had sales of about $3.5 million during the 12-month period ended in September 2012, according to IMS Health.


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NACDS lauds Tricare retail pharmacy vaccination program for enabling 1 million vaccinations

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Thursday applauded the Tricare Retail Pharmacy Vaccination Program’s announcement that 1 million vaccinations have been administered in retail pharmacies for military families and veterans.

Tricare expanded its pharmacy coverage in August 2011 to include a full spectrum of preventative vaccines. The expansion covers all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended vaccinations at no cost if they are administered by a pharmacist at a participating Tricare pharmacy.  As a result, the milestone of one million vaccinations was achieved as of Oct. 28, 2012.
 
“We are pleased that the Department of Defense has expanded retail pharmacy’s role in administering vaccinations for Tricare patients,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “As the face of neighborhood health care, retail community pharmacies provide a number of patient services, including vaccinations, to help patients improve their health and reduce healthcare costs.”
 
NACDS has long-supported efforts to protect pharmacy choice and access for Tricare beneficiaries.  Earlier this year, NACDS urged members of Congress to forego pharmacy co-payment changes to the Tricare program that would have placed significant financial burdens on its beneficiaries and threatened access to local community pharmacies.  In comments to a U.S. Senate panel, NACDS also emphasized to Congress the importance of finding ways to control spending while preserving patient pharmacy choice and access.
 
“This week we remember the brave service men and women who have served or continue to serve the nation. One of the best way to honor them is to protect Tricare beneficiaries’ ability to receive their vaccinations, fill their prescriptions and other health services provided by retail community pharmacy,” Anderson said. 
 

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