PHARMACY

Watson receives FDA approval for Nulecit

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic treatment for iron deficiency anemia made by Watson Pharmaceuticals, Watson said Thursday.

The drug maker announced the approval of Nulecit (sodium ferric gluconate complex in sucrose), an injectable and generic version of Sanofi-Aventis’ Ferrlecit.

The drug is used to treat iron deficiency anemia in adults and children ages 6 years and older undergoing chronic hemodialysis and receiving supplemental epoetin therapy.

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PHARMACY

DDF develops calendar of events to prevent diabetes, complications

BY Allison Cerra

MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. — A nonprofit charity that focuses on diabetes prevention efforts announced the launch of a calendar of events on its website, in line with what has been designated as Defeat Diabetes Month.

The Defeat Diabetes Foundation said that the calendar is designed to empower families with tools to prevent diabetes or related complications. The calendar also provides links to articles, downloads, tools, puzzles and games, nutrition tips, healthy recipes and more.

"We are providing information and activities focused on getting you to live just a little bit healthier each and every day," said Andrew Mandell, executive director of DDF. "People know that many of their eating and/or exercise habits are bad for their health, but they aren’t sure how to break them. Defeat Diabetes Month is a great way to start."

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Report: Generic utilization can save Medicaid millions

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research on Monday published a working paper that identified $329 million in overspending as a result of underutilization of generics.

As total spending on 20 medicines with generic equivalents totaled approximately $1.5 billion, AEI concluded Medicaid overspent by 22% ($1.5 billion versus $1.17 billion) on these pharmaceuticals.

“Community pharmacies are leading the way in consistently dispensing generic drugs,” noted Kathleen Jaeger, EVP and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, commenting on the report. “In fact, we dispense them more often than other practice settings, such as mail-order pharmacies.”

“Because Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, savings from addressing this problem would accrue to both states and the federal government, although the federal share of total Medicaid spending is generally about 57%,” noted AEI research fellow Alex Brill.

On the state level, the greatest amount of overspending — where a brand-name drug was dispensed though a generic equivalent was available — was in California ($102 million), followed by Texas ($31 million), Georgia ($25 million) and Ohio ($21 million).

Brill added that thanks to the pending "patent cliff," when many blockbuster brand drugs face generic competition upon losing patent protection in 2011 and 2012, the likely future overspending in this program is even greater if new policies are not promptly adopted.

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