PHARMACY

Report: Loblaw, SDM to cover employee medical marijuana

BY David Salazar

TORONTO — Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart are taking a big step for employees using medical marijuana, Toronto’s “Breakfast Television” is reporting. The company is set to cover up to $1,500 in expenses related to medical marijuana, the report said, making 45,000 employees eligible.

“As other companies realize how the landscape is shifting maybe they themselves will expand benefits,” University of Toronto director of the division of social and administrative pharmacy Paul Grootendorst told “Breakfast Television.”

Besides the company’s efforts to provide financial support for employees with medical marijuana expenses, it applied in fall 2016 for a license to be a licensed producer with the goal of dispensing medical marijuana to patients alongside pharmacist counseling.

“We believe that allowing medical marijuana to be dispensed through pharmacy would increase access, safety, quality and security for the thousands of Canadians who use the drug as part of their medication therapy," Tammy Smitham, VP external communication for Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart, told Drug Store News in October.

 

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Alembic’s anti-depression generic receives tentative FDA approval

BY Brian Berk

GUJARAT, India — Alembic Pharmaceuticals has received tentative approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its anti-depressive medication vilazodone hydrochloride, according to several published reports.

Tentative approval is given when a generic drug is ready for approval before the patent exclusivity for the reference product has ended. Final approval is delayed until that time.

"The company has received tentative approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its abbreviated new drug application for vilazodone hydrochloride tablets, 10mg, 20mg and 40mg," the company stated in a filing.

The FDA-approved product is therapeutic equivalent to the reference-listed drug product Viibryd tablets of Forest Labs. 

According to IMS, the U.S. market for these tablets was $340 million in 2016.

Alembic currently has a total of 54 abbreviated New Drug Application approvals from the FDA, 47 of which are final and seven are tentative.

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First Korean generic to debut in the U.S.

BY Brian Berk

SEOUL, South Korea — Daewoong Pharmaceutical on Wednesday announced it will launch its generic antibiotic Meroprenem in the United States. According to multiple reports, Meroprenem is not only Daewoong’s first product to be offered in the U.S., but also the first Korean generic drug sold in the U.S.

Meroprenem is a generic of Merem, developed by AstraZeneca, as a Carbapenem-series antibiotic widely used in hospitals to treat various ailments ranging from bacterial infections to general diseases.

Seoul-based Daewoong’s Meroprenem was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015. The U.S. market for the antiobiotic was pegged at $145 million in 2015.

"With the release of Meropenem, we expect to contribute to enhancing the image of Korean pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. pharmaceutical market,” Daewoong Pharmaceutical Vice Chairman Lee Jong-wook said. “Daewoong will continue to advance into the global market, including advanced countries, and grow into a global healthcare group.”

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