PHARMACY

FDA commissioner blames budget for agency’s woes

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON At a conference Wednesday, Food and Drug Administration commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach said that the agency’s ability to protect the health of Americans is at risk because of inadequate funding and increasing responsibilities, according to Bloomberg.

A panel of outside advisers to the agency wrote in a report last year that American lives are in danger because the FDA lacks the funding to keep up with scientific advances. The agency’s budget is more than $2 billion annually. Democratic lawmakers have criticized von Eschenbach for failing to press publicly for more funding.

“Time and again we have asked Commissioner von Eschenbach to tell us what he needs but he has refused,’” said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce investigations subcommittee, in an e-mail today. “We have asked whether he is satisfied with the administration’s most recent budget proposal, but he wouldn’t comment.”

Stupak has called for von Eschenbach to resign, saying that when Congress gave the FDA a $10 million funding increase, “he doled it out in bonuses to the agency’s political appointee top brass.”

President Bush has proposed increasing the FDA’s budget by 5.7 percent to $2.4 billion for fiscal 2009, and the agency has said von Eschenbach had sought more without saying how much he recommended.

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PHARMACY

ScriptPro robotic dispensing adopted in two Haggen locations

BY Drew Buono

BELLINGHAM, Washington Haggen Food & Pharmacy has added ScriptPro’s robotic dispensing devices to two of its stores, one in Ferndale and the other in Barkley Village, according to published reports.

The system automatically selects a prescription vial, counts tablets or capsules into the vial and labels it with patient, drug and dosing information.

“This system offers many advantages for our customers,” said Andrew Charter, vice president of pharmacy at Haggen Inc. “It is better than partially automated systems in providing accurately counted doses. Most importantly, it frees up our pharmacists to spend more time answering the questions of customers rather than counting pills or making labels.”

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Eli Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis partner to market Cialis

BY Drew Buono

BRDIGEWATER, N.J. Sanofi-Aventis has agreed to help Eli Lilly market its impotency drug Cialis, according to CNN. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lilly gained full rights to the medicine at the beginning of 2007, when it bought the drug from ICOS for $2.3 billion.

Cialis had worldwide sales of $1.1 billion in 2007, compared with its main competitor Pfizer’s Viagra, which saw sales of $1.76 billion.

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