PHARMACY

Diabetes spending rises each year

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. People diagnosed with diabetes spend over $4,100 more each year on medical costs than people who don’t have diabetes, a gap that increases substantially each year following the initial diagnosis, according to a study published online Tuesday in the journal Diabetes Care.

In the first study to examine medical cost increases for individuals living with diabetes on a year-by-year basis, researchers at RTI International calculated that a 50-year-old newly diagnosed with diabetes spends $4,174 more on medical care per year than a person of the same age who doesn’t have diabetes. For the person with diabetes, medical costs go up an additional $158 per year every year thereafter, over and above the amount they would increase due to aging-related increases in medical expenses.

Most of the increase can be attributed to the cost of diabetes-related complications, such as heart and kidney disease, the researchers found. Once they controlled for complications, the remaining annual increase in medical costs was $75 per year—the bulk of which could be attributed to the increasing need for diabetes medications the longer a person lives with the disease.

“The good news is that many of these costs could be contained through proper diabetes management and lifestyle changes,” said lead researcher Justin Trogdon, research economist. “Numerous studies show that losing weight and increasing physical activity, along with maintaining proper blood glucose levels, can substantially delay or reduce the risk for diabetes-related complications. What our study does is to point out that there is also a cumulative, financial impact to the progression of this disease.”

The study was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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PHARMACY

King announces acquisition of Alpharma

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISTOL, Tenn. King Pharmaceuticals will acquire Alpharma in a deal worth $1.6 billion, King said Monday.

Alpharma had rejected a $33-per-share bid King made earlier, but accepted the most recent $37-per-share bid.

Alpharma, based in Bridgewater, N.J., has lately sought regulatory approval for painkillers designed to thwart abuse, such as Remoxy, a liquid capsule-based formulation of oxycodone.

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Viagra under investigation for effect on athletes

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating whether the drug Viagra gives athletes a competitive advantage on the playing field.

The drug, known generically as sildenafil citrate and made by Pfizer, works by opening the blood vessels. According to published reports, some experts have said this could give athletes more endurance by increasing the bloodstreams ability to deliver oxygen.

If studies indicate that Viagra does give athletes an advantage, WADA will consider listing it as a performance-enhancing drug.

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