PHARMACY

NACDS’ stance on medication adherence emphasized in NYT article

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has praised a New York Times article that underscored medication therapy management and the consequences of nonadherence.

The article emphasized the use of technological solutions to enhance medication adherence, and said that “[medication nonadherence] undermines even the best cost-saving and clinical intentions of evidence-based care.” These ideas are consistent with NACDS’ focus on expanding e-prescribing, fostering electronic health records and increasing access to and use of pharmacist-provided medication therapy management services, the pharmacy group said.

In response to the article, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said, “The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has pledged to own the issue of medication adherence. We made this pledge because we know that pharmacists have the education and skills to work with patients to increase medication adherence rates, improve patient health and reduce overall healthcare costs.”

As previously reported by Drug Store News, an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month noted that more than $100 billion is spent each year on avoidable hospitalizations. The statistic is just the tip of the iceberg, the authors wrote, as the New England Healthcare Institute projected in July 2009 that $290 billion in total annual costs, or 13% of all healthcare expenditures, were caused by poor medication adherence.

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Asda to sell cancer drugs on ‘not-for-profit’ basis

BY Alaric DeArment

LEEDS, U.K. A retailer in the United Kingdom said Thursday it would become the first to sell cancer drugs to customers at cost.

Asda, one of the country’s largest retailers and a division of Walmart, said it would sell the drugs on a “not-for-profit” basis. For example, AstraZeneca’s lung cancer drug Iressa (gefitinib) will sell for $3,112.73, compared with prices ranging from more than $3,734.92 to $4,671.97 at other retailers, based on present currency exchange rates.

“The crippling cost of paying privately for cancer treatments has forced many people to spend their savings or even re-mortgage their house to pay for these essential drugs,” Asda superintendent pharmacist John Evans said. “We are the first retailer to recognize this injustice and to do something about it, and we are calling on other retailers to follow our lead.”

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Salix receives patent for IBS treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent to Salix Pharmaceuticals for a drug to treat irritable bowel syndrome, Salix said Thursday.

The patent, 7,718,608, will protect the drug Xifaxan (rifaximin) until August 2019. Salix is producing and marketing the drug under license from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“The issuance of the ‘608 patent is yet another example of how we have strengthened the intellectual property protection for rifaximin over the past 18 months,” Salix CEO Carolyn Logan said. “We view patent protection as an essential component of our product life-cycle management strategy to protect the indications in development as well as the products in our portfolio.”

Salix’s announcement comes the day after Soligenix received a patent for beclomethasone dipropionate, also for IBS.

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