PHARMACY

Reports: CVS Caremark drops 17 drugs from formulary

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The PBM division of CVS Caremark is hoping to get patients to use lower-cost drugs for certain conditions by removing higher-cost drugs from its formulary, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that CVS Caremark would stop covering 17 drugs starting on Jan. 1, 2013, after removing 30 this year. The drugs include Abbott’s Androgel (testosterone gel) for low testosterone, and Pfizer’s drug Detrol LA (tolterodine tartrate) for overactive bladder.

The company said that the drugs removed from the formulary have alternatives that cost less, including generics, and some of those removed were nonpreferred drugs with lower degrees of utilization, according to the WSJ, adding that the removals are considered voluntary, but clients using the PBM’s services risk getting a smaller share of rebates if they don’t follow the policy.


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PHARMACY

FDA approves new strength of HIV drug

BY Alaric DeArment

TITUSVILLE, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new strength of a drug for HIV made by Johnson & Johnson, the drug maker said.

J&J subsidiary Janssen Therapeutics announced the approval of an 800-mg formulation of Prezista (darunavir) as a once-daily treatment for HIV. The drug is designed to be taken with food at the same time as ritonavir and in combination with other HIV drugs.

"The single 800-mg tablet provides an option for a reduced pill burden and reflects our ongoing commitment to offer more treatment options for the diverse population of people living with HIV," Janssen Therapeutics medical director Bryan Baugh said.


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FDA approves Watson PAH drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic drug for pulmonary arterial hypertension made by Watson Pharmaceuticals, the drug maker said Monday.

Watson said the FDA approved its sildenafil tablets in the 20 mg strength through a subsidiary. Watson said it would launch the drug "in the near future."

The drug is a generic version of Pfizer’s Revatio tablets, which had sales of about $339 million during the 12-month period ended in September, according to IMS Health.


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