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Calif. state legislature mulls biosimilar carve-out legislation

BY Alaric DeArment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A bill under consideration by California’s state legislature contains provisions that would place restrictions on pharmacists’ ability to dispense knock-off versions of biotech drugs, drawing opposition from the generic pharmaceutical lobby and the state’s pension fund for government employees.

The provision in the bill, SB 598, would require pharmacists to notify prescribers and patients if they have substituted a biosimilar and also forbid pharmacists from substituting biosimilars if prescribers indicate "Do not substitute" on prescriptions. The bill is one of several sponsored by biotech giants Amgen and Genentech that have appeared in state legislatures.

On Wednesday, the board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System voted to oppose the provision and oppose passing the bill unless it is removed, drawing praise from the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.

"Passing SB 598 with this provision intact would prevent the state of California from realizing the full cost savings from new, safe and affordable medicines," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "As health costs continue to strain the state’s fiscal security and the use of biologic medicines increases, we urge California lawmakers to reject this bill."

 

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Health-and-wellness marketplace Qi Hut in search of expert health advisers

BY Michael Johnsen

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In preparation for its official opening, Qi Hut announced Wednesday a search for health-and-wellness expert advisers from a variety of fields, including medicine, nutrition, fitness, mental health, finances and spiritual guidance. The health-and-wellness marketplace will be opening its website to client or consumer registration on Sept. 4. 

Qi Hut managers and administrators expect the site to help expert advisors gain effective tools and exposure that will help widen their customer base. Through Qi Hut, Expert Advisors will have the opportunity to connect with consumers in search of specific health-and-wellness services. 

On Sept. 1, Qi Hut will begin a widespread marketing campaign using a variety of online marketing strategies that target health-and-wellness sites to invite consumers to register on the site, the company noted.

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Avella Specialty Pharmacy included on Inc. 5000 list

BY Alaric DeArment

PHOENIX — Inc. magazine has named Avella Specialty Pharmacy to its list of the top 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States, Avella said Thursday.

Avella was ranked in 86th place among the top 100 health companies on the Inc. 5000 list, and it has been included on the list since the list started, in 2006. At the time, it was known as The Apothecary Shops, adopting its current name last year.

"I continue to be pleased with Avella’s growth since we first started serving our patients in 1996," Avella CEO John Musil said. "Our focus on clinical excellence is as important today as it was when we started the business."

 

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