San Francisco health plan switches pharmacy benefit manager to keep Walgreens in network
SAN FRANCISCO — As of January 2012, Chinese Community Health Plan will transition to a new pharmacy benefits management company, Navitus Health Solutions, from Express Scripts to provide its members with continued access to Walgreens pharmacies, the health plan subsidiary of Chinese Hospital in San Francisco announced Friday.
According to the health plan, the move was made to maintain access to those Walgreens pharmacies. "In San Francisco, Walgreens is a leading pharmacy provider and operates the only 24-hour pharmacies in the city," the company stated.
“Our concern is for the continuity of care for the residents we serve in this area," stated Larry Loo, director of business development and operations for CCHP. "Having access to medications in a timely fashion is an important part of their overall health care. Removing access from a neighborhood Walgreens to another drug store downtown or in a different part of [San Francisco] could generate scenarios in which seniors or other individuals cannot fully access the medicines they need.”
Six retailers charge Wyeth, Teva with unlawfully delaying generic Effexor XR
TRENTON, N.J. — Six retailers on Wednesday filed suit naming Wyeth and Teva Pharmaceuticals as defendants and alleging that the defendants unlawfully delayed the entry of generic versions of Wyeth’s antidepressant Effexor XR (venlafaxine). A summons was issued to Wyeth and Teva on Thursday.
The retailers include Ahold USA, H-E-B, Kroger, Safeway, Supervalu and Walgreens. The companies are suing for three-times damages plus attorneys fees.
Wyeth was acquired by Pfizer in October 2009.
"Although Wyeth’s marketing exclusivity for the original compound patent for Effexor XR lapsed on June 13, 2008, the first generic equivalent was foreclosed for two more years, until July 2010, and other generics (including Wyeth’s authorized generic) remained foreclosed until June 2011," wrote the plaintiffs in a 79-page complaint. The suit alleged that Wyeth fraudulently procured three patents for extended-release formulations of venlafaxine hydrochloride and engaged in "serial sham litigation" to block and delay generic entry. The suit further alleged that Wyeth colluded with Teva to delay generic introduction of the antidepressant by Teva.
For the nine months ended Oct. 2, Pfizer reported $537 million in Effexor XR sales, down 64.5% as compared with the nine months ended Oct. 3, 2010.
Octapharma USA reintroduces Octagam 5%
HOBOKEN, N.J. — A drug for treating immune system disorders is available again following a voluntary market withdrawal last summer.
Octapharma USA said Wednesday that Octagam (immune globulin intravenous [human] 5% liquid preparation) again was available for purchase. The Food and Drug Administration approved its reintroduction on Nov. 3.
The company started a voluntary market withdrawal of the 5% strength of the drug in August 2010 after patients reported internal blood clots known as thromboembolic events, in which a clot or thrombus forms locally in a blood vessel or breaks loose and blocks another vessel.
"It is a very exciting time for patients throughout the United States as they again have access to Octagam 5%, a therapy that has long been valued by the medical community for patient tolerability," Octapharma USA president Flemming Nielsen said. "We have seen over the last year that there are industry-wide concerns over [thromboembolic events] connected with multiple immune globulin products that remained on the market while we have implemented enhanced safety measures for Octagam 5%."