PHARMACY

CVS Caremark receives honor from URAC

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. Health care accreditation organization, URAC, has honored CVS Caremark with Platinum honors for Consumer Health Improvement, CVS Caremark stated on Thursday.

The honor was announced at the 2009 Best Practices in Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection Awards Gala in Orlando, Fla. on April 1 to 2.

CVS Caremark was honored for its Drug Therapy Management program, which was developed to improve the outcome of drug therapy by providing patients with access to specialty trained clinical pharmacists for one-on-one medication counseling. Once enrolled in the program, an electronic record is developed and kept up-to-date for the patient, along with an individualized care plan and regular follow-up appointments via phone with their assigned clinical pharmacist.

“The Drug Therapy Management program provides those patients with complex pharmacy needs with access to personalized support from a clinical pharmacist who ensures coordinated communication and care between the patient and their health care providers,” stated Howard McClure, president CVS Caremark Pharmacy Services. “This program is another concrete example of how CVS Caremark applies our Proactive Pharmacy Care approach to engage the patients we support in their pharmacy health care and provide them with the information they need to make educated choices.”

A 27-member panel of independent judges – including experts in program evaluation, care coordination, health information technology, employer and purchaser decision making, and patient safety – evaluated 70 submissions.

Honors were awarded in six categories: Health Plans and Health Networks, Health Management, Health Information/Decision Support, Pharmacy Quality Management, Consumer Decision-Making and Consumer Health Improvement.

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Pharmaxis announces completion of phase 3 trial for CF drug

BY Alaric DeArment

SYDNEY, Australia An Australian company announced Tuesday that it had finished the first part of an international phase 3 trial of a drug for cystic fibrosis.

Pharmaxis said the final patient in the trial of the inhaled drug Bronchitol (mannitol) had finished a final clinical visit, and the trial was running on time and on budget. Results of the trial are expected to be available later this month.

“We are very pleased to announce this major milestone for Pharmaxis and look forward to the results of the study with great interest,” Pharmaxis CEO Alan Robertson said. “It is hoped that Bronchitol will change the therapeutic landscape for people living with cystic fibrosis and provide a new therapeutic regimen that helps to prolong life.”

A second phase 3 clinical trial is recruiting in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Germany, Belgium and France, Pharmaxis said. The Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency have given Bronchitol orphan drug designation due to the lack of effective treatments for cystic fibrosis.

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Court finds that Watson’s ADHD drug patent is valid

BY Alaric DeArment

CORONA, Calif. The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware ruled Monday that Watson Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of an ADHD drug does not infringe the branded drug maker’s patent.

Watson announced the court ruling Tuesday, saying judge Joseph Farnan found that the ‘373 patent for Concerta (methylphenidate hydrochloride extended-release tablets), by ALZA Corp. and McNeil-PPC, is invalid. The ruling applies to Watson’s versions of Concerta in the 18 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg and 54 mg strengths.

“We are very pleased that the court has ruled in our favor, and we will continue to evaluate the court’s opinion as we contemplate next steps,” Watson president and CEO Paul Bisaro said. “We are currently pursuing final FDA approval of this important product.”

The two branded companies originally sued Andrx Corp. in 2005 over the drug; Watson acquired Andrx the next year.

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