PHARMACY

Teva CEO steps down

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ president and CEO has stepped down, the Israeli drug maker said.

Teva announced the resignation of Jeremy Levin and that the board of directors had named EVP and CFO Eyal Desheh as interim president and CEO. Desheh has worked at Teva for more than 12 years, serving as CFO for the last five.

"Since I joined Teva, we have made tremendous progress in setting a new course for the company," Levin said. "I wish the company and its people, who I respect greatly, every success. I look forward to pursuing new opportunities where I can continue to apply my experience and contribute to the evolution of the global pharmaceutical industry."

Teva is the world’s largest producer of generic drugs and in recent years has also branched into branded products, including complex specialty drugs like the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone (glatiramer acetate). The company said earlier this month that it would reduce its workforce by about 10% through 2014, laying off about 5,000 employees and cutting "oversized" parts of its business.

"On behalf of the entire board of directors, I would like to thank Dr. Jeremy Levin for his meaningful contribution to Teva during the last two years," board chairman Phillip Frost said. "The board and management team are fully committed to the implementation of Teva’s strategy, including the development of new compounds, making strategic acquisitions, forming joint ventures and the planned acceleration of the company’s cost-reduction program."

 

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NACDS emphasizes community pharmacy’s role in controlling healthcare costs

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — Community pharmacy is an important healthcare partner in providing cost-saving solutions within the healthcare system by helping to improve medication adherence, administering vaccinations and increasing the use of generic drugs. That was a key message of a statement sent by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores to Budget Committee conferees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

“As Congress works to address the nation’s budget deficit, NACDS and our members offer our support for developing effective solutions to reduce healthcare costs, while at the same time maintaining patient access to prescription drugs and pharmacy services,” NACDS said in its letter to the committees.

Pharmacy services such as medication therapy management can improve adherence, creating better health outcomes and lower costs. Reports by the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as well as a recent article in Health Affairs found that appropriate medication use can in fact improve health while lowering costs.

These findings have helped increase recognition by lawmakers about the value of MTM, including bipartisan support for U.S. House and U.S. Senate bills, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2013 (H.R. 1024 and S. 557, respectively). The House bill currently has 149 cosponsors and the Senate bill has 30 cosponsors.

NACDS also emphasized that pharmacies have played an integral role in recent years in providing vaccinations and immunizations against illnesses such as flu, pneumonia, and shingles. In addition to helping patients stay healthy, encouraging Medicare patients and others to obtain vaccinations at their neighborhood pharmacy is a cost-effective and convenient way to help prevent illness and reduce healthcare costs. The Department of Defense cites cost-savings of nearly $1.5 million by expanding the portfolio of vaccines that Tricare patients may obtain from community pharmacies.

In its statement, NACDS also emphasized the benefits of increased utilization of generic drugs.

“Pharmacies have long promoted generic drugs as safe, cost-effective alternatives for many patients.  Increasing the use of generic drugs in public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, is one of the most effective ways to reduce prescription drug costs. For every one percent increase in generic utilization, the Medicaid program could save $558 million,” NACDS stated in the letter.

“As the face of neighborhood healthcare, community pharmacies and pharmacists provide access to prescription medications and over-the-counter products, as well as cost-effective health services such as immunizations and disease screenings. Through personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations and convenient access to preventive care services, local pharmacists are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow – in partnership with doctors, nurses and others,” NACDS stated in the letter.

 

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Reports: Takeda sues Amneal over generic version of Colcrys

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Generic drug maker Amneal Pharmaceuticals is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for a gout drug, prompting a lawsuit from the maker of the branded version, according to published reports.

Law360 reported that Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA had sued Amneal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware over the drug Colcrys (colchicine), used to treat gout and familial Mediterranean fever.

Amneal earlier this year applied for approval of generic colchicine in gout patients, asserting that Takeda’s patents covering the gout indication were invalid and triggering a lawsuit from Takeda, but later withdrew the application. The latest lawsuit relates to an effort by Amneal to win approval for the drug as a treatment for familial Mediterranean fever, or FMF, a rare genetic disease.

 

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