PHARMACY

Congressman opposes Genentech’s limits on Avastin

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Herb Kohl, D-Wis., the chairman for the Senate Special Committee on Aging, is opposing Genentech’s decision to limit the availability of Avastin.

Kohl is opposing the decision because he believes the move would cost taxpayers billions of dollars through higher Medicare costs and that the company is limiting the drug to boost sales of its more expensive drug Lucentis.

The company referred to a Food Drug Administration warning letter sent last year to a compounding pharmacy that was repackaging Avastin for distribution to ophthalmologists and said the drug is not manufactured to meet standards for eye care.

The price difference between the drugs is significant. Avastin has a wholesale acquisition cost of $550 for 100 mg while Lucentis has a cost of $1,950 for 0.5 mg. This differential could drastically increase Medicare costs, potentially as high as $1 billion to $3 billion, Kohl said.

Kohl asked acting Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Kerry Weems to tell him how much Medicare has spent on Lucentis and Avastin since 2005 and what measures the agency has taken to investigate substituting alternative treatments for more expensive drugs. He is looking for a response by Nov. 2.

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PHARMACY

Pharma, biotech companies in line of wildfires

BY Drew Buono

SAN DIEGO With the wildfires still blazing in areas across San Diego, such pharma and biotech companies as Pfizer are preparing for closures and even evacuations of some of their facilities, according to drugresearcher.com.

Pfizer’s La Jolla research and development site is a 33.5-acre campus, with facilities covering more than 1 million square feet, including  Pfizer’s vaccines research and The Pfizer Incubator, a new facility where the company is financing life science start-ups.  The HIV drug Viracept is produced at the site, as well as new treatments for cancer and diseases of the eye.

Across San Diego County, there are more than 500 life science companies employing more than 36,000 people, according to industry association Biocom.  The companies range from small biotechs to some of the biggest names in drug development, such as Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen, Biogen Idec, Genentech and Pfizer.  Between them, they generate more than $23 million for the economy every day.

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PHARMACY

Pharmacy OneSource ranks in Deloitte’s top 100

BY Drew Buono

BELLEVUE, Wash. Pharmacy OneSource has been ranked number 84 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies in North America. The company grew 2011 percent in fiscal revenue from 2002-2006, which was the time period used to measure each company’s ranking.

“We enjoy our strong relationship with pharmacy professionals and the opportunity it brings to stay intimate with their needs,” said Keith Streckenbach, chief strategy officer. “This knowledge, combined with excellent hires, has catalyzed our growth.”

Pharmacy OneSource was also ranked sixth on the Washington State Technology Fast 50, which ranks the 50 fastest growing technology firms in Washington State.

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