PHARMACY

AARP CEO discusses affordable healthcare options in column; NACDS responds

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. AARP CEO A. Barry Rand’s column regarding healthcare reform has received criticism from an organization representing the country’s retail pharmacies.

Rand’s column, “Health Reform Now”, in its July-August 2009 issue, discusses affordable healthcare options and the importance of reforming the healthcare system this year. The print version of the article included a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealing that some Americans are postponing treatment, including filling prescription medications, as a way to save healthcare costs.

Utilizing its Rapid Response Program, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ president and CEO Steve Anderson issued a response to the recent article on costs associated with healthcare reform.

Anderson acknowledged the fact that during tough economic times, patients skip medication regimens to save money; however, the effects of poor medication adherence is something not to be risked.

“As the nation’s most convenient and accessible healthcare provider, pharmacy plays a critical role in helping patients take the right medications correctly as a key consideration for healthcare reform. Technically known as adherence, this correct utilization of medications is essential for improving patient health and reducing long-term healthcare costs,” Anderson wrote. “We need to focus on medication adherence as a critical solution to help keep skyrocketing health care costs down. When visiting your neighborhood pharmacy, talk with the pharmacist about medication regimens and ask questions about how you can help save your family money on prescription medication needs.”

The NACDS Rapid Response Program was created to address inaccurate or inappropriate portrayals of pharmacy, or call attention to an issue that impacts the pharmacy industry.

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Letter urges Waxman to push for provisions in H.R. 1427 for biosimilars regulatory pathway

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON In a letter Friday, a group of organizations urged a Congressman to push for provisions contained in a bill he introduced that would create a regulatory pathway for biosimilars if a House committee calls for a pathway as part of healthcare reform legislation.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association, AARP, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, labor unions and other groups asked Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to try and insert provisions from his Promoting Innovation and Life Saving Medicines Act in health reform legislation, if the legislation includes a pathway for biosimilars.

Waxman’s bill, introduced on March 11, would grant biotech drugs five years of market exclusivity, much like the Hatch-Waxman Act he co-sponsored in 1984, which created an approval pathway for generic pharmaceutical drugs.

Nevertheless, the bill has garnered only 14 co-sponsors, compared to 137 for the Pathway for Biosimilars Act, a competing bill introduced days after Waxman’s by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., which would allow 12 to 14 years of exclusivity. Earlier this month, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted to amend the healthcare reform bill to allow 12 years of exclusivity for biotech drugs.

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Oramed announces mid-stage trial results for Type 1 diabetes treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM A company that develops alternative drug delivery systems said it achieved positive results in a mid-stage clinical trial of an orally administered insulin for treating Type 1 diabetes.

Oramed Pharmaceuticals said the phase 2a trial of its insulin capsules, ORMD-0801, showed the capsules was well-tolerated and produced no serious harmful side effects.

“These results demonstrate that Oramed’s oral insulin capsule had a good safety profile and was effective on patients with Type 1 diabetes when taken prior to a meal,” Oramed chief scientific officer Miriam Kidron said in a statement.

The company said it is conducting a phase 2b trial in South Africa, evaluating the insulin’s effects on patients with Type 2 diabetes.

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