PHARMACY

FDA commissioner to post weekly column online

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration, in an effort to better connect with the consumers the agency is sworn to protect, introduced a new column on its web site called “Andy’s Take,” that will offer an internal glimpse as to the thinking that goes behind the agency’s decision-making through the perspective of FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach.

“As Commissioner, I want to give you my take on some of the events about food and medical products that you have been hearing about in the news,” von Eschenbach wrote in his inaugural column, posted Thursday. “I want to give you the inside story on some of the things that will soon be announced at the FDA so that you have my insights about why these initiatives are of such great importance to protecting and promoting your health.”

The FDA plans to update the column on a weekly basis.

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PHARMACY

Canada court blocks sale of generic form of Lipitor

BY Diana Alickaj

NEW YORK Canada’s appeals court ruled in favor of Pfizer not allowing Ranbaxy Labs to produce the generic version of the drug Lipitor, according to published reports.

The decision overturned a ruling made by lower courts that stated that the patent could not prohibit Ranbaxy from selling a cheaper version of Lipitor (atorvastin calcium), which is used to fight cholesterol.

The appeals court of Canada decided that Ranbaxy could manufacture its product as soon as Pfizer’s product expires in 2010, which leads many to believe that this decision will push Ranbaxy to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada.

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McCain’s healthcare plan suggests a loss for pharmaceutical companies

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON John McCain’s healthcare plan, with a call to purchase drugs in Canada, may cost American pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars, according to published reports.

According to McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, “The problem is not that most Americans lack adequate health insurance, the biggest problem with the American healthcare system is that it costs too much.”

McCain’s health policy would allow citizens to purchase medicines legally from Canada, which would make them more affordable for the reported 47 million Americans that don’t have health coverage.

According to published reports, such drugs as Pfizer’s Lipitor, known as the world’s biggest selling drug, costs $60.78 for a 30-day supply of 20 mg pills on CanadaDrugs.com, whereas Drugstore.com in the U.S. sells the same pill in the same amount for $119.99.

The new policy is predicted to cost drug makers—like Pfizer—about $40 billion over 10 years, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.

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