PHARMACY

FDA releases list of top six generic drug approvals since March 2008

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Every week, the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research sends out an e-mail listing the latest approvals of branded and generic drugs, but some of those approvals have greater significance than others, particularly those of companies that are the first to file for regulatory approval.

The FDA released its Generic Drug Roundup Friday, listing the top six generic drug approvals since March 2008. 

* Risperidone tablets ­ a generic version of Johnson & Johnson’s bipolar disorder and schizophrenia drug Risperdal, which had sales of $2.5 billionin 2007, according to Drug Store News reports.* Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets ­ a generic version of Abbott’s epilepsy, bipolar disorder and migraine drug Depakote, which had sales of $803 million for the 12 months that ended March 2008, according to IMS Health.* Ropinirole hydrochloride tablets ­ a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s restless legs syndrome drug Requip, which had sales of $518 million in 2007, according to IMS Health.* Dorzolamide and timolol maleate ophthalmic solution ­ a generic version of Merck’s ocular hypertension and glaucoma drug CoSopt, which had sales of $342 million in the 12 months that ended in June, according to IMS Health.* Galantamine oral tablets ­ a generic version of Johnson & Johnson’s dementia drug Razadyne, which had sales of $102 million in the 12 months that ended in June, according to IMS Health. 

The FDA approves generic drugs under the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, which allows companies to market generic versions of branded drugs after the branded drugs lose patent protection. The agency gives six months of market exclusivity to the first company to file for regulatory approval of a generic drug. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that generic drugs save consumers as much as $10 billion a year. 

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MinuteClinic now provider of BlueCross BlueShield of S.C.

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS MinuteClinic, the retail-based clinic operator owned by CVS Caremark, has become a provider in the Preferred Blue network of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

Under the partnership, BlueCross? Preferred Blue and Medicare Advantage members now have in-network access to MinuteClinic locations in the Columbiaand Greenville markets. 

In September, the company opened its first retail-based clinic in South Carolina inside select CVS stores in Greenville, Lexington and Richland counties. 

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CVS/pharmacy announces launch of ‘A Su Salud’ health fairs

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy has announced the launch of its 2009 “A Su Salud” (To Your Health) health fairs, which are held to help build awareness about the importance of prevention and help promote early detection of disease.

The health fairs, which will provide free health screenings, will be held in such cities as Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston.

In 2008, the company provided free and low-cost medical screenings and services valued at $55 million to the community through the A Su Salud program and direct referrals from the events. This year, CVS/pharmacy renews its commitment to preventative care and again will offer comprehensive health risk assessments at more than 750 store-based events.

Of the individuals screened last year, 47% had high cholesterol, 39% had a high-to-moderate risk of developing osteoporosis, 27% had hypertension and 21% had diabetes, with more than half being diagnosed with diabetes for the first time.

Many of the health fairs also focused on cancer screening for women, who comprised 78% of the A Su Salud event attendees in 2008. This year, CVS/pharmacy again will partner with local and state agencies to host mobile units offering low-cost and no-cost cancer detection services for women, including mammograms and pap smears.

Once screened, CVS/pharmacy helps patients through on-site physician consults that analyze the results and refer patients to no-cost or low-cost medical facilities within that neighborhood, or to their primary care physician should additional follow-up be required.

For more information and a full calendar of A Su Salud events, visit www.asusalud.com or call (888) 604-0333.

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