PHARMACY

UnitedHealthcare’s Pharmacy Saver program expands

BY Allison Cerra

MINNETONKA, Minn. — More retailers have signed on for UnitedHealthcare’s prescription savings program that caters to Medicare Part D members.

Target, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Publix Super Markets, Food Lion, Bloom, Harveys and Sweetbay Supermarket have joined the insurance company’s Pharmacy Saver program, which allows members to purchase some scripts for $2 for 30-day and some 90-day supplies, and applies to hundreds of prescription drugs, including 8-of-the-10 most commonly used by UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan members.

The announcement comes nearly one month after Kroger and Safeway signed on to participate.

"The rapid growth of Pharmacy Saver is a direct reflection of our commitment to finding new ways to bring important cost-savings benefits to our members," said Tom Paul, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare and retirement. "We’re pleased the addition of these new retailers will give even more members the opportunity to save money on their prescriptions next year."

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Teva files citizen petition over Copaxone

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has filed a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration, hoping to keep purported generic versions of its multiple sclerosis treatment off the market, the company said Sunday.

Teva said its petition, concerning the drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate), is based on what it called the inability to establish acceptable “sameness” due to the active ingredient’s complexity.

Similar to Sanofi-Aventis’ blood-thinning drug Lovenox (enoxaparin), the FDA approved Copaxone as a pharmaceutical drug, but its chemical complexity has led many analysts to say it should be considered more akin to a biotech drug.

Teva said it urged the FDA to require any follow-on version of the drug to undergo preclinical testing and clinical trials before winning approval, as follow-on biologics already must do.

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Shire attempts to block generic Intuniv

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN — Drug maker Shire has filed a patent infringement suit against Watson Pharmaceuticals and Impax Labs in response to their attempt to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a generic version of a Shire drug.

Shire announced that it had filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California following the two generic drug makers’ filing of an approval application for guanfacine hydrochloride, a version of Shire’s Intuniv, used to treat hypertension.

Shire alleged that the filing infringes on three patents covering Intuniv, the last of which expires in July 2022, according to the FDA. Intuniv’s regulatory exclusivity period runs through September 2012.

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