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FDA launches rogue pharmacy education campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has launched a campaign designed to educate consumers about online rogue pharmacies, the agency said Friday.

The FDA announced the launch of BeSafeRx, which includes resources for patients and caregivers who might purchase medications online.

According to a new FDA survey, nearly one quarter of Internet consumers has purchased prescription drugs online, but nearly 30% said they lacked confidence about how to make safe online purchases. But the risk of purchasing from rogue pharmacies is high, the FDA said, and according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, less than 3% of online pharmacies meet state and federal laws.

"Buying medicines from rogue online pharmacies can be risky because they may sell fake, expired, contaminated, not approved by FDA or otherwise unsafe products that are dangerous to patients," FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said. "Fraudulent and illegal online pharmacies often offer deeply discounted products. If the low prices seem too good to be true, they probably are."

Fake pharmacies, according to the FDA, use various means to appear legitimate, but patients should only buy drugs online from pharmacies that require a valid prescription from a doctor or other professional, are located in the United States, have a licensed pharmacist available for consultation and are licensed by the patient’s state board of pharmacy.


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Stiefel psoriasis drug gains additional FDA approval

BY Alaric DeArment

 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a treatment for psoriasis of the scalp made by a subsidiary of British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline.

Stiefel announced Friday the approval of Sorilux (calcipotriene) foam for psoriasis of the scalp in adults. The drug was already approved for psoriasis of other parts of the body in October 2010.

"Studies have shown that in at least 50% of psoriasis cases, the scalp is involved," Stiefel medicines development leader for dermatology research and development Susan Learned said. "We believe this additional indication for Sorilux foam will help meet the needs of both patients and physicians."


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Bayer hires Wendy Diamond for cat health campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Bayer HealthCare has signed a deal with a pet expert in a campaign focused on cat health, the company said Friday.

Bayer’s animal health division announced that it had hired Wendy Diamond and her Russian blue cat, Pasha, to dispel popular myths about cats and promote its flea treatment, Advantage II. Diamond has appeared on television shows such as "Good Morning America" and "The Today Show" as well as in other media outlets.

"When it comes to how well we know our cats, many cat owners are ‘barking up the wrong tree,’" Diamond said. "Pasha and I are thrilled to partner with Advantage II to help put an end to both the misconceptions about cats and the fleas that cause them discomfort. And there is no better time to talk about fleas than the warm weather months, when problems related to flea infestation are at their peak."


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