PHARMACY

Research indicates that parents are uncomfortable with EpiPen

BY Allison Cerra

SYDNEY, Australia Forty percent of parents are not secure in administering an adrenaline injection known as Epi-Pen to their allergy-ridden child, the Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday.

While prescriptions written for the auto-injector have increased by 650 percent in the past eight years, surpassing allergy rates tremendously, according to statistical data, allergy experts say this dramatic increase is concerning in light of new research showing parents with allergic children have concerns about using the pen.

The pen, which delivers a shot of adrenaline, can reverse the effects of a severe fast-acting reaction known as anaphylactic shock.

Researchers at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney surveyed 120 parents of preschoolers with egg allergy, most of whom had been prescribed the device. While 86 percent said they were confident that they knew how and when to use the device, research from the Medical Journal of Australia says otherwise.

“Despite this, almost 40 percent stated they had concerns about using the EpiPen in an emergency,” researchers wrote in the Journal. “These included doubting their ability to correctly administer the EpiPen, whether they would have enough time and they would inject correctly, concerns they may hurt their child … and concern about appropriate timing.”

Thirty percent, the report said, admitted they did not always carry the device.

Professor Andrew Kemp and his colleagues said these findings were concerning, especially as these parents were attending a specialist allergy clinic and were probably more educated on device use than most.

“It is not enough to merely prescribe an EpiPen,” he wrote. “It is vital that carriers, patients and prescribers understand its use.”

The view is confirmed by the National Prescribing Service, which says the pen should only be a small part of managing allergic anaphylaxis.

Patients also should be taught how to avoid triggers, referred to a specialist and given follow-up support from their doctor, the service states in its prescribing advice.

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Mass. court levies combined $13.6 million against AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb

BY Drew Buono

BOSTON A federal court in Massachusetts entered $12.9 million in damages against AstraZeneca and $695,594 against Bristol-Myers Squibb for the state’s class action members in a suit related to marketing the spread of certain drugs, according to law firms.

The judge, Patti B. Saris, found that AstraZeneca marketed the spread on its Zoladex drug, which is used to treat prostate cancer, selling it based on its profitability to doctors’ offices. She also found that less than 10 percent of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s sales were made within 5 percent of its list price, according to DowJones.

AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb intend to appeal the ruling, which covers Massachusetts’s class-action participants.

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Eli Lilly’s depression care program receives certification

BY Drew Buono

INDIANAPOLIS Eli Lilly has received Program Design Certification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance for its Tools that Empower Depression Care Management Program.

Tools that Empower Depression Care Management Program is designed for managed care organizations to assist in further driving the standard of patient care around major depressive disorder. It helps identify members with major depressive disorder and offers educational resources to support treatment.

“Tools that Empower is part of Lilly’s commitment to our customers to help reduce patient risk and create an environment of continuous improvement for patient care,” said Jack Bailey, vice president, Lilly’s Business to Business division. “The NCQA certification validates the helpful tools provided by the program.”

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