PHARMACY

Op-ed on healthcare reform calls for expanded role of nurse practitioners in Texas

BY Allison Cerra

SAN ANTONIO An opinion piece written for the San Antonio Express-News urges health reform in Texas and the need for nurse practitioners to be "given the right to diagnose and prescribe on their own," as done in retail clinics.

 

"Texas has only a few retail clinics; San Antonio doesn’t have any. The problem is cost," David Hendricks wrote Tuesday. "In Texas, state law requires doctors to be on site for 20% of operating hours in urban areas. In rural and designated medically underserved areas, a doctor must review 10% of a clinic’s charts every 10 days. The cost of physician oversight is too high for [the Walgreens and CVS chains], along with the retail clinic companies, to roll out full market coverage in Texas."

 

Hendricks does, however, point out retail clinics’ cost-effectiveness, citing the acceptance of health insurance plans, with fees capped at less than $100.

 

"Healthcare reform won’t mean as much as it could in Texas until this change (expanding the role of nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists) happens," Hendricks concluded.

 

 

To view Hendricks’ piece, click here.

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PHARMACY

FDA approves expanded use of Xifaxan

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new use for a drug made by Salix Pharmaceuticals, the FDA announced Wednesday.

The agency approved Salix’s Xifaxan (rifaximin) for treating hepatic encephalopathy, a deterioration in brain functioning in patients with liver disease that results from the liver’s no longer being able to clear toxins from the body.

The drug already had approval for treating traveler’s diarrhea.

“The approval of Xifaxan for this new indication provides an additional treatment optin for patients with liver disease,” FDA Division of Gastroenterology Products deputy director Joyce Korvick said in a statement. “Hepatic encephalopathy occurs commonly in patients with liver disease, and there are few effective treatments for this serious condition.”

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Teva gets tentative approval for argatroban

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic anticoagulant by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Teva announced Thursday.

The FDA gave the authorization to the injected drug argatroban, a generic version of a GlaxoSmithKline drug for treating heparin-induced thrombocytopenia that is branded with the same name. The branded version of the drug has annual sales of around $137 million, according to IMS Health.

A tentative approval means that the generic version of the drug meets the conditions for full approval by the FDA, but it can’t be marketed yet because the patent has not expired.

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