PHARMACY

URAC revises accreditation programs

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A healthcare accrediting organization is revising three products in its Pharmacy Quality Management suite of programs.

URAC said its pharmacy committee approved revisions to its mail service, specialty pharmacy, and workers’ compensation and property and casualty for pharmacy benefit management accreditation programs. The products revised include:

  • Mail-service pharmacy, version 2.0;

  • Specialty pharmacy, version 2.0; and

  • Workers’ compensation and property and casualty for pharmacy benefit management, version 2.0.

URAC also introduced new performance measures to benefit the mail-service and specialty pharmacy programs, including dispensing accuracy, medication adherence, generic dispensing rates, prescription turnaround time and overall consumer satisfaction.

"It is vital that, in this healthcare environment, URAC standards remain current. By incorporating measures into the pharmacy standards, URAC can facilitate quality improvement and innovation in the industry," said Alan Spielman, president and CEO of URAC. "Additionally, URAC’s goal is to encourage organizations to focus on outcomes for consumers and a dedication to patient safety."

Visit URAC.org/pqm/ for more information about these revised standards.

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PHARMACY

Pfizer to recall lot of Lipitor

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Pfizer on Monday announced that it intends to recall one lot — approximately 19,000 bottles — of Lipitor 40-mg tablets (atorvastatin calcium) distributed in the United States because of one customer’s report of an uncharacteristic odor related to the bottles in which these lots of Lipitor were packaged.

The bottles were supplied by a third-party bottle manufacturer. A medical assessment found that the risk of health consequences to patients appears to be minimal, Pfizer reported.

The market action is the result of Pfizer’s increased surveillance of odor-related issues after other reports in the industry. This increased surveillance also led to three earlier recalls of Lipitor, implemented in August, October and November 2010, in response to infrequent complaints of uncharacteristic odor.

“We have identified the source of the odor, and we are enacting rigorous measures to prevent odor-related issues going forward,” Pfizer stated in a press release. “The lot that will be recalled was packaged and shipped before these changes went into effect in August of this year. As previously reported, product filled in bottles made by the supplier prior to those changes may still be on the market, so it is possible that additional recalls could be necessary.”

Pfizer does not anticipate a product shortage resulting from the recall.

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AstraZeneca discontinues development of RSV drug

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON — An Anglo-Swedish drug maker said it is discontinuing further development of a drug that is designed to prevent a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages.

AstraZeneca has requested the withdrawal of its pending biological license application for motavizumab from the Food and Drug Administration. Motavizumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody that could prevent serious respiratory syncytial virus disease.

AstraZeneca said it will incur a financial impairment charge of $445 million in fourth quarter 2010.

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