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Survey: Seniors support strong patient safeguards for biosimilar medications

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — RetireSafe, a grassroots organization advocating on behalf of America’s seniors on Tuesday released a survey finding that seniors overwhelmingly support strong patient safeguards for biosimilar medications. The survey comes as federal health officials prepare to release standards for the review and approval of biosimilars — medications that are highly similar but not identical versions of biologic medicines. 
 
The survey of 1,467 RetireSafe supporters found that an overwhelming majority of respondents — more than 90% — did not know what biosimilar medications were or that the Affordable Care Act enabled the Food and Drug Administration to approve the use of biosimilars in the United States. The survey also identified support for patient safety protections, including requiring thorough testing of biosimilars prior to their approval and notification of patients and their physicians whenever a biosimilar is substituted for the original innovator biologic product prescribed.
 
“When it comes to new biosimilar drugs, people are rightly concerned and want to keep their drugs safe and effective,” stated Thair Phillips, RetireSafe president. “Seniors have made their voice clear that patient safety must come first if we are to reap the benefits of new lifesaving medicines. That is why RetireSafe is going to be calling on the FDA and elected officials to put in place a series of common-sense safeguards around new medicines in the form of a ‘Safe Medicines Bill of Rights.’”
 
Among the survey’s key findings:
 
  • 92% wanted a requirement that drug companies test the safety of biosimilars for all conditions the drug will be used to treat;
  • 86% wanted a requirement that drug companies that are developing biosimilars conduct human clinical trials to ensure a given biosimilar is safe;
  • 90% believed that the name of the biosimilar should be different than the original biologic medicine to allow for adequate tracking of any adverse reactions;
  • 91% want physicians to be notified when a biosimilar is substituted for the original biologic drug they prescribed for their patient; and
  • 94% believe patients should be notified when a biosimilar is substituted for the original drug prescribed by their doctor.
 

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Arctic Ease begins selling small joints wrap

BY David Salazar

New York — Arctic Ease, a company that makes cold and compression therapy products, announced Tuesday that it had launched its small joints wrap.

The wrap, a smaller version of the company’s Cold Therapy Wrap, is meant to relieve wrist, ankle and elbow pain, and will retail for $9.99. The wraps can stay cool without being put in a refrigerator and can stay on during activities.

“Consumers love the cooling and compression power of the full size wrap, and some were already custom fitting that wrap for their smaller aches and pains by cutting the wraps on their own,” the company said, adding that the new wrap is “ideal for active adults on the go.” 

Arctic Ease recently teamed with Ironman for a three-year integration deal with the triathlon.

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Alliance Labs launches OTC hospital-strength mini-enemas

BY David Salazar

Phoenix — Two new over-the-counter enemas are offering quick constipation relief without having to wait for a hospital visit. 

Alliance Labs announced Tuesday that it would be offering hospital-strength mini-enemas DocuSol and DocuSol Plus at Rite Aid pharmacies, as well as on Amazon.com and Drugstore.com.

The two products use an active ingredient that helps the bowel function normally, usually clearing up constipation in two to 15 minutes. DocuSol Plus contains the topical pain reliever benzocaine for those with hemorrhoids. 

DocuSol and DocuSol plus will be sold in boxes of five tubes.

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