PHARMACY

Excela Health to use new electronic health records system

BY Alaric DeArment

Chicago A non-profit healthcare network in western Pennsylvania has adopted an electronic health records system for the more than 100 physicians it employs.

Allscripts announced earlier this month that Excela Health selected its Enterprise Electronic Health Record for the physicians it employs in the Excela Health Physician Practices. Excela operates hospitals and physician practices in the Pennsylvania counties of Westmoreland, Indiana and Fayette.”Our strategy calls for finding ways to enable physicians to improve the quality of the services they deliver, simplify their lives and to improve their bottom line, and we believe Allscripts will help us accomplish those objectives,” Excela Health CEO Otto Salguero said in a statement.The software automates everyday clinical tasks and connects physicians to critical information from other healthcare stakeholders including pharmacies, labs, payers and patients.Excela Health will also offer Allscripts ePrescribe, a stand-alone Web-based electronic prescribing solution, at no cost to all physicians affiliated with its hospitals to promote safer prescribing and to encourage physicians to adopt automated solutions. Allscripts said the program is designed for small physician practices and requires no download or new hardware and minimal training. It automatically checks prescriptions for potentially harmful reactions.

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Teva Pharmaceuticals and Lonza Group join to market biosimilars

BY Alaric DeArment

Jerusalem As the possibility of a bill to allow Food and Drug Administration approval of biosimilars looms in Congress, two companies are already taking the initiative.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced Tuesday a partnership with Lonza Group to establish a joint venture to develop, manufacture and market biosimilars. The two companies did not specify where they would market the drugs.”We had identified biosimilars as a major growth driver for Teva in our long-term strategy and have been augmenting our knowledge base, capabilities and infrastructure to position Teva as a leader in this market,” Teva president and CEO Shlomo Yanai said in a statement. “This strategic partnership bolsters our biologics capabilities.”Teva, the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, already markets biosimilars in Europe, along with generic manufacturers Sandoz and Dr. Reddy’s, and pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co., Eli Lilly & Co. and AstraZeneca have recently announced the creation of biosimilars divisions.Financial terms of the deal between Lonza and Teva were not disclosed.

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Lawmakers concerned international drug manufacturing presents risk of counterfeits

BY Alaric DeArment

New York Concern has arisen about the manufacturing of ingredients for drugs in other countries, especially antibiotics like penicillin, according to published reports.

Drug manufacturing has mostly moved to countries such as India and China, but some lawmakers and analysts have said it increases the risks of counterfeits and bioterrorism.Already, more than 200 Americans have experienced dangerous drug reactions since November 2007 after taking counterfeit versions of the blood-thinning drug heparin manufactured in China containing a toxic chemical that merely mimics heparin. Last November, the Food and Drug Administration confiscated 11 lots of counterfeit heparin from a company based in Cincinnati. 

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