PHARMACY

Perrigo to settle litigation related to generic Cutivate

BY Alaric DeArment

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Drug maker Perrigo has reached a licensing agreement with Nycomed US that will allow it to launch a generic treatment for dermatitis in 2012, the company said.

Perrigo said it agreed to settle all Hatch-Waxman litigation relating to its generic version of Cutivate (fluticasone) lotion with Nycomed, allowing it to launch under a licensing agreement in September 2012.

Cutivate is used to treat dermatitis in patients ages 1 year and older and had sales of about $50 million during the 12-month period ended in February, according to Wolters Kluwer.

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PHARMACY

Surgeon general, NCL introduce Script Your Future campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The National Consumers League and the U.S. surgeon general are launching a new campaign to educate patients about the risks of not properly taking their medications, the organization said.

Surgeon general Regina Benjamin and the NCL have launched the Script Your Future campaign, a multiyear campaign that will include free text message reminders, sample questions, medication lists and charts to keep track of medicines and fact sheets on such common chronic conditions as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. The campaign also includes a website, at Scriptyourfuture.org.

“There are many different reasons why people don’t take their medicine as directed, from concerns about side effects to the out-of-pocket costs of prescriptions,” NCL executive director Sally Greenberg said. “But the consequences for those patients are the same. Nonadherence puts patients, especially those with chronic conditions, at risk for serious complications.” About three-fourths of patients in the United States don’t adhere to their medication therapies, costing the healthcare system $290 billion per year.

“Our national challenge is to prevent poor health outcomes and to become a healthy and fit nation,” Benjamin said. “One way is for the healthcare community and patients to come together to address the serious issue of medication nonadherence.”

The new campaign also was commended by the National Community Pharmacists Association, which noted that patient adherence can be improved through the help of pharmacists.

"It [was] important to support the National Consumers League’s Script Your Future campaign … to engage the private sector in identifying solutions to improve medication adherence," NCPA EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey said. “We need to make sure the government recognizes the positive contributions independent community pharmacists can provide as clinically trained medication experts when implementing coordinated care models. We need to see a greater embrace of these types of policies across the public and private sectors, and will work tirelessly to make that happen.”

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Medco Research Institute, AssureRx introduce new program

BY Alaric DeArment

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. — Pharmacy benefit manager Medco’s research arm is teaming up with personalized medicine and pharmacogenetics company AssureRx Health in a pilot program to evaluate adherence and medical care utilization among patients taking antidepressants and antipsychotics.

The Medco Research Institute and AssureRx announced Wednesday the launch of the PREDICT PSYMEDS program, which will use AssureRx’s multigene pharmacogenetic profile test, GeneSightRx, to help physicians understand how patients’ genetic makeups affect their abilities to tolerate and respond to certain psychiatric drugs.

“Genetic variations are important considerations for patients taking psychotropic medications, leading to differences in how patients tolerate and respond to antidepressants and antipsychotics,” Medco Research Institute president Felix Frueh said in a statement. “The PREDICT PSYMEDS pilot is designed to demonstrate how pharmacogenetic-guided prescribing can add precision to these therapies. We hope that we can demonstrate that using such technology can help improve patient drug response and reduce side effects and result in cost savings to payers.”

The Medco Research Institute will use cheek swabs from 2,000 Medco members taking one or more psychiatric drugs who switched or added medications within a prior three-month period and then follow their pharmacy and medical claims for a year after testing. It’s hoped that the results can determine whether Medco members will become more adherent to their medications and have fewer medical claims.

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