PHARMACY

FDA closer to being given responsibility of tobacco regulation

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON Congress has been working towards giving the Food and Drug Administration more authority to regulate tobacco products, despite emerging doubts from lawmakers about the FDA’s ability to add another responsibility to its workload.

According to published reports, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 38-12 to allow the FDA to place larger and more in-depth health warnings on tobacco products, as well as reducing their nicotine levels.

Many representatives feel that this job should be given to the Federal Trade Commission, including Joe Barton, R-Texas, who stated that, “This legislation, if it becomes law, would require the FDA to take on a task that is enormous, complex and completely outside its regulatory experience. It will almost necessitate a diversion from its core functions.”

Many of the officials approving the idea feel that if the FDA were to be given this responsibility they would also have to receive the funding for it. This would allow them to ban candy-flavored cigarettes and prohibit terms of “light” or “Mild,” according to published reports. These changes would hope to decrease such numbers as 45 million Americans who smoke and 400,000 smoking-related deaths each year.

“This bill will put a stop to decades of Big Tobacco marketing,” stated Daniel Smith, president of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, “aimed at addicting each new generation of young people to their deadly products.”

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Mylan twarted by court in Topamax case

BY Drew Buono

TITUSVILLE, N.J. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a ruling that prevents Mylan from marketing a generic version of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical’s epilepsy drug Topamax, according to Reuters.

The decision was originally found in a District Court in New Jersey. Now, Mylan has to wait until the patent expires in September before launching a generic.

Topamax had sales in 2007 of over $1.8 billion.

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Independents, chains team up to spread the word about e-prescribing

BY Drew Buono

ALEXANDRIA, Va. On April 17, a new campaign will launch in thousands of pharmacies, aimed at informing patients about the benefits of e-prescribing and also encouraging them to tell their doctors about the technology.

Many independent pharmacies are joining the campaign, along with such big chains as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kerr and Wal-Mart, to promote the program through in-store signs and educational material. Signage that reads “e-prescriptions filled here” and “give your prescriptions a head start” will be found on pharmacy doors and at counters.

Patients interested in learning more about the program—such as which pharmacies or physicians in their area practice e-prescribing—will be directed to the campaign’s Web site, www.LearnAboutEprescriptions.com.

To prove the worth of e-prescribing, Walgreens and SureScripts, who is providing the network for the e-prescribing pharmacies, have released a survey showing the benefits of implementing e-prescribing in a pharmacy.

According to the findings of the Walgreens/SureScripts study, prescriptions filled at pharmacies increased by 11 percent once physicians began actively using e-prescribing and that the savings for pharmacy labor costs are $1.07 for every new prescription and $0.41 for every refill due to e-prescribing.

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