PHARMACY

Walgreens’ Rx refill, text alert apps embraced by pharmacy customers

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens’ latest mobile features have gained momentum among its pharmacy customers.

The drug store chain said that four months after debuting Refill by Scan for iPhone and Android platforms, the application now accounts for more than half of all prescription refills ordered through Walgreens mobile applications. What’s more, Walgreens’ prescription text alerts, which notify customers via text message when their prescriptions are ready, has surpassed 1 million subscribers since launching last year.

The company said its online and mobile applications have enhanced the customer experience.

“With Refill by Scan, prescription text alerts, unique photo features and the ability to shop or browse products all available on a mobile device, we’re adding new levels of choice, control and convenience for our rapidly growing numbers of mobile customers,” said Sona Chawla, Walgreens president of e-commerce.

Other features of the Walgreens mobile application suite include:

  • Access to prescription history;

  • The ability to order photo prints directly from a phone;

  • The ability to find the nearest Walgreens or Take Care Clinic;

  • The ability to browse products and check in-store availability; and

  • The ability to shop from a phone.

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PHARMACY

Report: FDA warns of long-term PPI use

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration is warning that long-term use of a class of drugs for gastroesophageal reflux disease may decrease levels of magnesium in the body and increase the risk of such side effects as seizures and heart rhythm problems, according to published reports.

The reports quoted the FDA as saying that in a quarter of cases of proton-pump inhibitors depleting magnesium from the body, use of magnesium supplements did not bring levels back to normal, and use of the drugs had to be stopped.

The warning included popular drugs, such as AstraZeneca’s Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium), Prilosec’s (omeprazole) and others, as well as over-the-counter PPIs.

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Drug makers file suit against Mylan over generic Vivelle-Dot

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — A group of drug makers have sued Mylan over its attempt to gain Food and Drug Administration approval for a generic menopause drug, Mylan said Tuesday.

The generic drug maker said that Novartis, Noven Pharmaceuticals and Vivelle Ventures had sued it in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont for its filing of a regulatory approval application for estradiol transdermal system, a generic version of Vivelle-Dot. Mylan’s application contained a paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the patent covering Vivelle-Dot is invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed, thus prompting the lawsuit.

The drug is used to treat menopause and hypoestrogenism and prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis. Sales of Vivelle-Dot were $215 million in 2010, according to IMS Health. Mylan was the first company to file for approval of a generic version and thus is entitled to 180 days of market exclusivity in which to compete directly with the branded version should it win final FDA approval.

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