PHARMACY

CMS updates Medicare Part D Web site

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has updated its Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder, so that senior citizens and other beneficiaries can begin to review 2008 Part D drug plans.

The finder offers beneficiaries a chance to compare drug plans and health plans, view premiums, formularies and availability of coverage in the gap.  CMS wanted to make the finder as easy as possible to use and provide as much information as possible so that beneficiaries are ready before the open enrollment begins on Nov. 15.

The finder is at www.medicare.gov.

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Pfizer wins lawsuit over Viagra patent

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK The Canadian Federal Court has decided that Apotex’s proposed generic version of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra will infringe on one of Pfizer’s patents on the brand name drug.

The court has granted Pfizer’s request for an order to prevent Apotex from launching the generic version until the patent expires in 2014.

Apotex plans on appealing the ruling, which could take up to a year.

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AstraZeneca to Provide Free Medicines to Illinois’ Largest Free Clinic

BY Allison Cerra

WILMINGTON, Del. AstraZeneca announced that CommunityHealth in Chicago, Illinois has enrolled in the pharmaceutical giant?s newest prescription savings program, which provides medicines free of charge to community healthcare facilities.

The AZ&Me Prescription Savings program for healthcare facilities is available to non-profit organizations that have a licensed outpatient pharmacy or dispensary on site and meet other program criteria. Patients are eligible for AstraZeneca medicines through this program if they do not have prescription drug coverage and have a household income at or below $30,000 for an individual, or $60,000 for a family of four.

“There are 1.3 million uninsured in Chicago and the surrounding area. MedAccess Chicago is designed to help address that problem by putting prescription medications within reach of those who desperately need but cannot afford them,” said Judith Haasis, executive director of CommunityHealth. “With partners like AstraZeneca, we are able to better serve those patients who are falling through the cracks.”

CommunityHealth, the largest free clinic in Illinois and one of the largest in the United States, recently announced the opening of MedAccess Chicago, a licensed pharmacy housed at the health center that will make free prescription medications available to uninsured patients throughout the city.

Through the AZ&Me Prescription Savings program for healthcare facilities, AstraZeneca is planning to provide free medicines to approximately 250 facilities by the end of 2008.

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