PHARMACY

NCPA to continue ‘Meet. Learn. Succeed.’ theme at annual convention this fall

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. An industry group representing the nation’s community pharmacies will present the latest in pharmacy education, case studies and real-world, business-impacting information at its annual convention and trade expo this fall.

NCPA’s 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from Oct. 23 to 27. The convention theme of “Meet. Learn. Succeed.” introduced last year reflects the top goals of the meeting for the representatives of more than 3,000 community pharmacies who attend each year.

“NCPA is committed to the success of community pharmacists by providing practical business solutions and by advocating for their best interests in legislative, regulatory and legal arenas,” said NCPA president Joseph Harmison. “And for over 100 years, our convention programming and first-rate trade exposition continues to reflect those values.”

The four-day convention will feature nearly 20 hours of continuing education credits on such topics as marketing, merchandising, technology and profitable niches, including long-term care, immunizations, compounding and more. New formats this year will integrate the popular and topical government affairs forum into the Second General Session, and the NCPA Foundation Silent Auction to the opening night celebration. New educational programming includes sessions on 340B, diabetes education reimbursement and the return of the popular all-day technology seminar.

This year’s keynote speaker is former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner, a gold medalist in the decathlon and now a sought-after motivational speaker. The closing night event headlines “Saturday Night Live” alum and screen star Jim Belushi and the Sacred Heart Band at World Cafe – City Live, a music and entertainment venue.

For more information and to register, visit NCPAnet.org.

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PHARMACY

Teva launches generic Yaz

BY Allison Cerra

JERUSALEM Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has launched a generic oral contraceptive, the drug maker said Tuesday.

Gianvi is the generic version of Bayer’s Yaz tablets, which had total sales of nearly $782 million in the United States for 12 months ended Dec. 31. Teva has been awarded a 180-day period of marketing exclusivity for the contraceptive.

As previously announced, Teva has the right to launch an authorized generic version of the product, supplied by Bayer, in July 2011.

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Consumer Reports survey: Antidepressant use on the rise

BY Allison Cerra

YONKERS, N.Y. A new Consumer Reports health survey found that nearly 80% of respondents seeking treatment for depression or anxiety were prescribed antidepressants.

Of the 1,500 subscribers surveyed, Consumer Reports found that 78% respondents use antidepressants to aid their mental health issues. CR also found that 58% had experienced anxiety, up from 41% in 2004 when CR last surveyed subscribers about these conditions. The survey sought to show how subscribers treat their mental health conditions and asked readers who took drugs for anxiety, depression or both within the past three years to rate them.

The survey also found that older, often less expensive antidepressants known as SSRIs  (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Lexapro, Celexa, Prozac and Zoloft work just as well, and with fewer side effects (51% of respondents said), than newer, more costly drugs known as SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) like Cymbalta and Effexor (49%). SSRIs and SNRIs address depression by altering the levels of certain brain chemicals, CR said.

CR also found, however, that talk therapy was effective in treating anxiety or depression in patients, it received high marks from CR’s survey participants–91% said therapy made things “a lot” or “somewhat” better. People who stuck with talk therapy for at least seven sessions had significantly better outcomes that those who went to six or fewer sessions. What’s more, they scored as high as people treated mostly with medication on an overall outcome scale.

“Pharmaceutical companies stand to profit most from convincing consumers that drugs are the only answer to depression and anxiety, and that newer, more expensive drugs are a better alternative to older drugs and their generic counterparts,” said Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor, Consumer Reports Health.  “Our survey shows that a combination of therapy and medication works best, and that despite the intense marketing push consumers are subjected to, there is no evidence that newer drugs like Pristiq and Cymbalta work any better than older medications in their class.”

Click here to read the full report.

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