PHARMACY

CDC: At least 30% of antibiotic scripts unnecessary

BY David Salazar
ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to new data published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association that at least 1-in-3 antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. The study looks at antibiotic use in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms nationwide, finding that some 47 million excess antibiotic prescriptions are written for viral respiratory conditions. 
 
“Antibiotics are lifesaving drugs, and if we continue down the road of inappropriate use we'll lose the most powerful tool we have to fight life-threatening infections,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden. “Losing these antibiotics would undermine our ability to treat patients with deadly infections, cancer, provide organ transplants, and save victims of burns and trauma.”
 
The news comes as the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB) seeks to reduce the number of antibiotic prescriptions by 15% by 2020. Congress has allotted $160 million toward funding for the CDC to implement the CARB plan by accelerating outbreak detection and prevention state-by-state, supporting research to identify knowledge gaps and informing providers and the public about antibiotic resistance and appropriate use, among other initiatives. 
 
“Setting a national target to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use in outpatient settings is a critical first step to improve antibiotic use and protect patients," said Lauri Hicks, director of the CDC’s Office of Antibiotic Stewardship. “We must continue to work together across the entire health care continuum to make sure that antibiotics are prescribed only when needed, and when an antibiotic is needed that the right antibiotic, dose, and duration are selected.”
 
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Mylan names new CFO

BY David Salazar
PITTSBURGH — Mylan on Tuesday announced the appointment of Kenneth Parks as its new CFO, effective June 6. Parks, who has more than 30 years of corporate finance experience, will join Mylan from Wesco International, a provider of electrical, industrial and communications products, where he is VP and CFO. 
 
Before Wesco, Parks worked for much of his career at United Technologies Corp. (UTC), in various financial roles both in the United States and abroad. Most recently he was VP finance, having also served as investor relations director and as a VP financial planning and analysis for UTC’s Carrier Corp. division. 
 
“Ken is a proven finance leader with an impressive track record operating in complex, global cultures and manufacturing environments,” Mylan CEO Heather Bresch has successfully led organizations through numerous periods of change, including overseeing significant acquisitions, expansion into emerging markets and restructurings.”
 
Parks will oversee all of Mylan’s global finance functions, including accounting and control, financial planning and analysis, investor relations, treasury and tax. 
 
“Mylan's dynamic business and unique culture, strong track record of growth and value-creation, and exciting outlook for the future make this an exceptional opportunity,” Parks said. “I look forward to joining Mylan's leadership team and working with Mylan's experienced finance organization to bring value to the organization and contribute to its future success in providing the world's population with access to high-quality medicine.”
 
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Taro makes Keveyis available to distributors for free

BY David Salazar
HAWTHORNE, N.Y. — Taro Pharmaceutical USA on Tuesday announced a plan to make its primary periodic paralysis drug Keveyis (dichlorphenamide) available to distributors at no cost. The company will stop commercial sales and promotional activities for the ultra-rare disease treatment.  
 
“We embarked on this decade-long journey to help a patient community in need and we are proud that it resulted in Keveyis, the first medicine approved for the treatment of periodic paralysis,” Taro USA CEO Kal Sundaram said. “Through heartfelt testimonials, patients have told us how their lives have changed for the better thanks to this treatment being available.”
 
Taro said that it had expected to only treat a few hundred patients with Keveyis, but that the company had difficulty reaching a small pool of people — of those estimated to have periodic paralysis, fewer than 1,500 are thought to be diagnosed, and among these lifestyle changes and off-label prescription medications are used to manage the illness. 
 
As a result, Keveyis has seen less than $1 million in sales, and the investment in marketing the drug has become unsustainable, the company said. The company said that many patients have an average out-of-pocket cost of less than $25 per month, and some have received the treatment for free through Taro’s support program and patient assistance program.
 
“This decision extends our desire to ensure that anyone with a prescription will continue to have access to the medicine regardless of insurance status or ability to pay,” Sundaram said. 
 
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