PHARMACY

Forest Labs buys rights to Merck’s Saphris

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Forest Labs is spending at least $240 million to buy rights to a psychiatric drug made by Merck, the New York-based drug maker said.

Forest said it would buy the U.S. rights for Merck’s Saphris (asenapine), a tablet dissolved under the tongue for the treatment of schizophrenia and manic episodes in patients with bipolar disorder. Forest will pay Merck $240 million upfront, as well as milestone payments based on sales, while Merck will supply the drug. Forest will market the drug and conduct clinical studies.

Saphris received approval from the Food and Drug Administration and launched in 2009. Merck reported net sales of $150 million for the drug during the 12-month period that ended in September.

 

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Reports: R.I. may set up prescription drug registry to combat abuse

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Officials in Rhode Island may set up a registry that would allow doctors and pharmacists to track patients who have problems with drug abuse, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported that the proposed registry would track prescriptions for drugs that are controlled substance and allow healthcare professionals to track their usage, similar to a monitoring program set up in New York this year. A task force that includes state lawmakers, health officials and healthcare professionals met Monday to look at the idea.

The AP reported that more than 180 residents of the state died from drug overdoses last year, including from illegal drugs and legal prescription drugs.

 

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CDC publishes guidelines for collaborative practice agreements

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a set of recommendations on collaborative practice agreements between pharmacists and physicians in an effort to improve healthcare quality, under a partnership with the American Pharmacists Association’s philanthropic wing.

The new recommendations, from the CDC’s Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, are directed at pharmacists, other healthcare providers, payers and decision-makers involved in collaborative practice agreements. A collaborative practice agreement is a formal agreement that allows a physician to refer a patient to a pharmacist for such specific patient care services as travel vaccinations.

"Research shows us that a patient’s control of their blood pressure improves when their care is provided by a team of health professionals," said David Callahan, an official with the division. "This tool kit will play an invaluable role in allowing physicians and pharmacists to work together to give patients optimal care and save lives by controlling blood pressure."

The APhA Foundation provided advice for content based on its consortium on collaborative practice agreements and pharmacists’ patient care services, which took place in January 2012. It also includes examples from three pharmacies that have found success in establishing stronger relationships between pharmacists and other providers.

"It was a pleasure to partner with the CDC to explore the meaningful implementation of collaborative practice agreements," APhA Foundation executive director Mindy Smith said. "The DHDSP at the CDC and the APhA Foundation have a common goal of improving people’s health, and CPAs can help achieve that goal by solidifying collaborative, patient-focused healthcare teams in a variety of practice settings."

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