PHARMACY

ReportersNotebook — Chain Pharmacy, 8/1/11

BY DSN STAFF

SUPPLIER NEWS — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Johnson & Johnson for treating deep vein thrombosis in patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery, a J&J subsidiary said. Janssen Pharmaceuticals announced the approval of Xarelto (rivaroxaban) tablets as a once-daily oral anticoagulant for DVT, a condition that could lead to pulmonary embolism.


Dr. Reddy’s Labs has launched a generic drug for treating high blood pressure, the company said. Dr. Reddy’s announced the launch of amlodipine besylate and benazepril hydrochloride capsules in the 5-mg/40-mg and 10-mg/40-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Novartis’ Lotrel, which had sales of $290 million during the 12-month period ended in March, according to IMS Health.


The FDA has approved a new drug for preventing organ rejection in kidney transplant patients, the agency said. The FDA approved Bristol-
Myers Squibb’s Nulojix (belatacept) for preventing acute rejection in adult patients. The drug is approved for use with other immune system-
suppressing drugs, specifically Novartis’ Simulect (basiliximab), Genentech’s CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) and corticosteroids.


The FDA has approved a drug made by Archimedes Pharma for treating breakthrough pain in cancer patients, Archimedes said. Archimedes announced the approval of Lazanda (fentanyl) nasal spray for cancer patients who have acquired a tolerance to opioid drugs. Breakthrough pain is an intense, sudden pain that is unpredictable and often debilitating, and occurs despite appropriate pain therapy.


Wockhardt has launched three new drugs in the United States in just three weeks, the Indian generic drug maker said. Wockhardt announced the FDA’s approval and the launch of the company’s antibacterial drug levofloxacin, a generic version of Johnson & Johnson’s Levaquin, in the 250-mg, 500-mg and 750-mg strengths.


On May 31, the company launched donepezil tablets, a generic version of Eisai’s Alzheimer’s disease drug Aricept. On June 1, it launched venlafaxine extended-release capsules, a generic version of Pfizer antidepressant Effexor XR. Branded versions of the three drugs have combined sales of $6 billion, according to IMS Health.

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NACDS supports Affordable Medicines Utilization Act of 2011

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Bipartisan legislation recently introduced to the Senate has received endorsement from a group representing the retail pharmacy industry.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores said that the Affordable Medicines Utilization Act of 2011, introduced by Sens. Scott Brown, R-Mass.; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; and John McCain, R-Ariz., "will provide incentives that will encourage state programs to efficiently use their healthcare dollars through increased use of more cost-efficient generic drugs while at the same time generating savings for not only the state but for the patient as well,” NACDS wrote in a letter.

NACDS did, however, caution against "evaluating spending on prescription drugs in a vacuum."

The bill seeks to offer states incentives to use generic drugs by allowing states to temporarily keep a portion of the savings, the senators said.

“With our nation in a financial crisis and as federal and state healthcare expenditures continue to rise, we must ensure that our healthcare programs are efficiently managed,” McCain said. “A recent study found that the federal/state Medicaid program potentially overspends by more than $300 million per year on brand-name drugs when a cheaper generic drug equivalent is available. This bipartisan proposal incentivizes state Medicaid programs to substitute generics for more expensive brand-name drugs, introducing real competition for reimbursement dollars and saving taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”

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Patients using mail-order pharmacy for new statin Rxs achieved better cholesterol control in study

BY Alaric DeArment

OAKLAND, Calif. — Patients in northern California using Kaiser Permanente’s services who received new prescriptions for statin drugs through mail-order pharmacy showed better control of their cholesterol in the first three to 15 months following the start of therapy than those who obtained them from Kaiser Permanente Northern California pharmacies, according to a new study.

The 100,298-patient study, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that 85% of patients using mail-order pharmacy achieved their desired cholesterol levels, compared with 74.2% of those who used the local pharmacy.

“While the findings of this study should be confirmed in a randomized controlled trial, they provide new evidence that mail-order pharmacy use may be associated with improved care and outcomes for patients for risk factors with cardiovascular disease,” lead study author and Kaiser Permanente Division of Research investigator Julie Schmittdiel said. “Though mail order may not be right for all patients, this study shows that it is one possible tool in the broader healthcare system-level toolbox that can help patients meet their medication needs.”

Schmittdiel said the study was the first to examine whether mail-order pharmacy use is related to improved cardiovascular risk factor outcomes.

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