PHARMACY

Congress passes FDA Amendments act of 2007

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Congress has passed the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007. The FDA was particularly pleased to see Congress reauthorize the Prescription Drug User Fee Act and the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act. The two programs accounted for almost a quarter of the agency’s budget.

FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach had sent a notice to about 2,000 employees at the beginning of the week warning them of being laid off if Congress did not finalize the legislation by Sept. 21.

The legislation also includes the reauthorizations of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act and the Pediatric Research Equity Act–two statutes that have provided invaluable information to the agency about medical products’ interaction with pediatric populations.

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CIGNA debuts online Rx pricing guide for patients

BY Jim Frederick

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. Big insurance and pharmacy benefits management company CIGNA HealthCare has launched an updated version of its online Prescription Drug Price Quote tool for its health and PBM plan members as a price-comparison guide.

The web-based guide is available on the My Plans—Pharmacy page at www.mycigna.com. It offers Cigna Pharmacy members real-time, plan-specific cost comparisons for generic, brand name and available therapeutic alternative medications at 57,000 U.S. pharmacies, according to the health plan giant.

“Rather than relying on national average or regional discount information on retail pharmacy prices, the tool displays side-by-side comparisons of exactly what members would pay for brand named medications, available generics and low cost therapeutic options…based on their benefit plan, as well as the total cost of each medication,” Cigna noted in a statement.

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Rexahn receives patent for Zoraxel

BY Drew Buono

ROCKVILLE, Md. Rexahn Pharmaceuticals has received a U.S. Patent for the treatment of sexual dysfunction with its leading drug candidate RX-10100 IR, also known as Zoraxel.

Zoraxel is a drug that enhances neurotransmitters in the brain, both of which play key roles in sexual motivation, erection, and release. This would be the first drug to effect all three phases of sexual activity.

Commenting on today’s news, Chang H. Ahn, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, noted, “This latest patent coverage for Zoraxel significantly strengthens our patent estate. When added to the four CNS-related U.S. patents and two anti-cancer patents already secured, this represents another key milestone for the Company as we move forward with the clinical development for this promising new drug.”

The company plans to initiate a Phase II trial for Zoraxel by the end of this year.

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