HEALTH

Pharmacy groups launch e-health task force

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON Staking a firm claim to the emerging technology revolution in health care, nine national pharmacy organizations Wednesday unveiled a new, joint task force to grapple with the challenges and opportunities posed by information technology.

The so-called Pharmacy e-Health Information Technology Collaborative will focus on the pharmacy profession’s technology needs “to ensure that they are addressed and integrated into the framework of the U.S. health information technology infrastructure,” the groups noted in a joint statement. “In doing so, the collaborative is committed to creating a comprehensive and unified approach, ensuring optimal integration of pharmacy’s requirements and contributions into the electronic health record.”

Among the collaborative’s founding members: the American Pharmacists Association, the National Community Pharmacists Association, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations.

“In order for patients to receive optimal care, pharmacists need to have the ability to access and contribute to relevant, patient-specific information from the EHR. The work of the collaborative will focus on achieving this goal,” said Tom Menighan, EVP and CEO of APhA, who will chair the working group.

Serving as its director will be Rachelle “Shelly” Spiro, a pharmacist and long-term care specialist who heads Spiro Consulting. Spiro is active in national pharmacy associations, standards development organizations and is a leader in pharmacy health IT.

For additional information on the Pharmacy e-Health Information Technology Collaborative, contact James Owen, APhA’s director of professional practice, at [email protected].

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Sun Pharma gets FDA approval for ALS generic

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of a drug for a devastating muscular disorder.

 

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries announced Tuesday the approval of riluzole hydrochloride in the 50-mg strength. The tablets are used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

 

 

The drug is a generic version of Sanofi-Aventis’ Rilutek, which has sales of around $50 million, according to Sun.

 

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Cirrus targets ear-ringing with Tinnitex

BY Allison Cerra

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. Cirrus Healthcare Products has expanded its ear care offerings with a new product, slated to hit retail shelves in spring 2011.

Tinnitex is the first and only earplug to help relieve tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing in the ears, the company said. According to the Journal of Clinical Nursing, more than 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus.

“Tinnitex gives the suffering consumer an option to the inconvenience of ear drops or the excessive amount of pills that consumers are tired of taking. The Tinnitex earplug is easy to apply and comfortable to wear and, at about $10 at retail for six pairs, provides affordable relief,” said Cirrus CEO Drew O’Connell.

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