PHARMACY

Baucus outlines health reform agenda, drawing support from NACDS’ leader

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores joined a chorus of general approval today for a new “call to action” health reform plan unveiled by Sen. Max Baucus, noting that the Montana Democrat “understands the value of pharmacy.”

Baucus, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, proposed a set of guidelines aimed at cutting health costs, expanding coverage and improving Americans’ health and wellness through prevention and healthier lifestyles. Among his proposals:

• utilizing pharmacists and other health providers more effectively to promote drug compliance and healthier lifestyles;

• encouraging health agencies and providers to do a better job of sharing information on effective patient-care efforts, which could improve clinical decision-making and eliminate duplication of efforts;

• speeding up the adoption of health information technologies and electronic prescribing;

 

• providing an approval pathway at the Food and Drug Administration for generic, or follow-on, biologic drugs.

Less aligned with community pharmacy’s interests is another element of Baucus’ plan: to promote greater use of mail-order pharmacies in federal health programs.

Nevertheless, NACDS expressed support for Baucus’ efforts. “In its Principles of Healthcare Reform, NACDS made the case that pharmacy services, such as Medication Therapy Management, can reduce healthcare costs and help make patients healthier,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson. “Chairman Baucus has demonstrated that he understands the value of pharmacy, and we look forward to working with him and others to achieve its untapped potential for the health of patients and the healthcare delivery system.

“We applaud Chairman Baucus for his proposal to achieve comprehensive healthcare reform and we look forward to continued collaboration with him in the 111th Congress,” Anderson said. “NACDS stands ready to work with Congress and the Obama Administration to assure innovative solutions to our health care challenges, utilizing the benefits of pharmacists.”

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FDA raises questions about efficacy of pain medication tamper-proofing

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Questions have arisen as to whether a pill by Pain Therapeutics and King Pharmaceuticals is resistant to tampering.

A memo by the Food and Drug Administration Monday concerns the drug Remoxy, a formulation of oxycodone that uses liquid capsule drug-delivery technology designed to prevent misuse of the drug. Some people have abused oxycodone tablets by crushing them, dissolving it in water and then injecting it for its opiate-like effects.

The FDA’s memo said that Pain Therapeutics did not sufficiently conduct long-term tests of Remoxy to determine whether the oxycodone could be extracted and diverted, though Pain Therapeutics disputes that claim.

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Titan releases earnings report for Q3 2008

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. Titan Pharmaceuticals has released financial results for third quarter 2008.

Total operating costs for the quarter, which ended Sept. 30, were $6 million, compared with $4.6 million for third quarter 2007, the company said. Net loss for the quarter was $5.9 million, compared to $4.3 million last year; losses in both cases totaled 10 cents a share. The increase in operating costs resulted mostly from an increase in research and development funding related to development of the opiate addiction treatment Probuphine (buprenorphine) and a slight increase in general and administrative costs.

“We have continued to streamline our expenses and focus our resources on the phase 3 clinical development of Probuphine,” Titan president and chief executive Marc Rubin said. “During the third quarter, we have engaged in discussions with several potential partners both in the U.S. and Europe, and we are continuing these efforts as we evaluate strategic alternatives for the company.”

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