PHARMACY

Drug wholesaler group lauds innovation

BY Jim Frederick

PALM DESERT, Calif. The Healthcare Distribution Management Association has cited individuals representing two of its member companies for their efforts to improve the pharmaceutical and health care supply chain.

HDMA presented its 2008 Innovation for Success Awards to distribution company leaders at the annual Business Partners Exchange here. The awards go to those who “demonstrate the value of distribution by developing creative and results-oriented programs and processes that benefit the healthcare supply chain, customers and consumers,” according to Amanda Forster, spokeswoman for the wholesale industry group.

Named 2008 IFS Award winners are Diane McLean, director of supplier processes for McKesson Corp.; and Dennis Harvey, director of information technology for Burlington Drug Co.

HDMA associate manufacturer members nominate healthcare distributors for IFS awards, which are broken into two categories to honor individuals from both larger and second-tier drug distribution companies.

“The 2008 IFS honorees implemented creative new technologies to improve the customer ordering experience, automate traditionally manual processes and enhance data sharing among trading partners,” said HDMA president and chief executive officer John Gray. “The paperless, customer-centric programs implemented by this year’s IFS winners improved information accuracy and timeliness, as well as the quality of trading partner communications.”

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Study of Copaxone reveals that drug is not effective for patients in treatment of ASL

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON Copaxone, a blockbuster drug manufactured by Israel’s Teva Industries, has proven to be ineffective for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to the company.

Copaxone, which earned Teva $436 million in revenue, was subjected to a 366-patient Phase II trial to investigate if it was able to reduce deterioration in patients with ALS. According to published reports, the study showed that the drug, although safe, did not increase rate of survival among patients battling the disease.

ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, plagues about 10,000 people in the U.S. and Europe. ASL leads to paralysis, and those who are diagnosed are expected to live within 3-5 years experiencing weakness in limbs, twitching and respiratory impairment, as well as other painful symptoms. Copaxone was the leading therapy for multiple sclerosis in the U.S., but based on the new findings, Teva will continue to search for other options in treating the disease.

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Manitoba pharmaceutical regulator tries to end online pharmacies

BY Drew Buono

MANITOBA, Canada The Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association is attempting to put a stranglehold on the province’s Internet pharmacy business, according to CBC news. Manitoba conducts a good deal of online pharmacy business.

The association has approved a new rule that would prevent pharmacies from filling out-of-province prescriptions starting June 30. If pharmacies don’t comply with this new rule, they can have their licenses revoked.

Troy Harwood-Jones, of the Manitoba International Pharmacy Association, said that kind of rule is unheard of in other provinces, and in a recent vote, more than 70 percent of pharmacists voted against it.

In response, the province has assigned a mediator to try to work something out between the Internet pharmacies and the association. Although, Harwood-Jones said that if a deal wasn’t reached, he thought many of the 20 Internet pharmacies in the province would leave.

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