PHARMACY

Bill to provide comparison information on treatments to reach Senate vote

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON A new bill named The Comparative Effectiveness Research Act of 2008 will be introduced to the Senate this week, according to published reports.

The act’s purpose is to create an institute that would evaluate drugs and medical devices and gauge their effectiveness against others purporting to treat the same conditions. The institute would run clinical trials as well as write clinical reviews comparing its findings with company-run tests for the drugs.

According to published reports, the Comparative Effectiveness Research Act is sponsored by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Max Baucus, D-Mont. The bill’s introduction stemmed from a public meeting held by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an organization that advises the Congress on Medicare issues.

The group has rallied behind the comparative effectiveness program and believes that the congress should create an independent entity to provide the results for the information it gathers, according to published reports.

This new act will serve as a way to give information on the value of drugs, and support credible information based on separate studies. MedPac has also advised that the institute should not be part of payment decisions or coverage information. The program will serve as another tool for consumers to make informed decisions on which treatments would be best for them based on information given and compared with other studies.

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FDA announces safety review of two immunosuppressive drugs

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration issued an early communication today stating that an ongoing safety review is taking place about the immunosuppressive medications CellCept by Roche and Myfortic by Novartis.

The drugs have been linked in safety data provided by Roche to progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a sometimes fatal disorder that affects the central nervous system.

Roche has recommended including this information in the CellCept label. The active ingredient in CellCept, mycophenolate mofetil, is metabolized by the body to MPA (mycophenolic acid), the active drug ingredient in Myfortic.

The FDA anticipates taking two months to complete its review of the safety data and the proposed revised labeling for CellCept and Myfortic that includes information about PML.

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MyInsuranceExpert.com launches in nine states

BY Drew Buono

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. A new Web site called MyInsuranceExpert.com helps individuals and families research and purchase insurance policies, according to published reports.

MyInsuranceExpert.com is available in Michigan and eight other states and hopes to expand to 40 states by the end of 2009. So far, he said the site’s biggest business comes from states like Texas and Florida, where there are fewer companies offering insurance to employees.

People go to the site to receive online quotes and ultimately purchase their insurance policy. But the site also has personal, licensed advisers who work with each client to ensure they have the most cost-effective policy possible.

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