PHARMACY

PhRMA: More than 260 medicines in development to treat skin diseases

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — More than 200 drugs are under development in the United States for treating skin diseases, according to the country’s largest pharmaceutical industry trade group.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said Monday that the country’s drug makers were developing 263 medicines for skin diseases that affect more than one-third of the U.S population. A study by the Lewin Group found that the annual total cost of skin diseases was $39.3 billion in 2005.

According to the PhRMA, these include 69 drugs for skin cancers, including 63 for melanoma; 39 drugs for the autoimmune disorder psoriasis; 58 for skin and tissue infections; 13 for dermatitis; and eight for rosacea.

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Protect Your Care to defend government healthcare programs in TV ads

BY Alaric DeArment

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a bête noire among much of the Republican party since President Obama signed it into law. But as GOP presidential candidates prepared for the first official debate in Manchester, N.H., one group launched a series of ads defending it and other programs to address the nation’s health coverage gap.

Protect Your Care will launch its first TV ad to defend Medicare, Medicaid, Romneycare — the healthcare-reform law that presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed while governor of Massachusetts — and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Other efforts will include online ads, visibility efforts around Manchester, rapid response and fact checking.

Republicans have called for deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in recent months amid the national debate over deficit spending. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., proposed to replace Medicare with a voucher system that many critics derided as “vouchercare” and a poor substitute for the current system.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, spending on Medicare is expected to reach 8% of the country’s GDP by 2035, and 15% by 2080, while Medicaid spending is expected to reach 5% by 2035, and 7% by 2080.

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WAG’s PBM officially belongs to Catalyst Health Solutions

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Catalyst Health Solutions on Monday announced it has completed its acquisition of Walgreens’ pharmacy benefit management subsidiary, Walgreens Health Initiatives.

“We have been pleased with the integration planning and are highly confident that the company will rapidly realize the many strategic and financial benefits of this transaction,” stated David Blair, Catalyst CEO.

Catalyst will issue a separate press release and conduct a special investor conference call on July 7 to further discuss the WHI acquisition and provide updated 2011 financial guidance, the company stated. The financial guidance will incorporate estimated revenue and earnings contributions from WHI, as well as the expected timing and scope of upfront integration and transactional expenses.

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