Further restrictions placed on Novartis’ treatment for irritable bowel syndrome
WASHINGTON Novartis has decided to reserve Zelnorm, an irritable bowel syndrome drug, for patients with only an extreme case of the disorder, according to an announcement from the company on Wednesday.
Early reports that there were links to heart attack and strokes made the drug initially available for only a limited-number of patients who where under a special, supervised program by the Food and Drug Administration. Now, the company has placed an even stronger restriction for patients who are only in need of hospitalization, or are experiencing life-threatening symptoms as a result of the disorder.
IBS is an illness that affects the large intestine and causes bloating, abdominal cramping, diarrhea and constipation, and according to published reports, affects about 20 percent of adults in the U.S.
Zelnorm was the only FDA-approved treatment for IBS, which, before its restrictions, made sales of $488 million in the U.S. in 2006, making it the company’s 12th best selling drug.
Now, if any doctors wish to prescribe the treatment they have to get permission from the FDA. Regular sufferers can take heart that there are new drugs in the process of being studied to replace Zelnorm as the drug for IBS, including probiotics, according to reports.
Mylan twarted by court in Topamax case
TITUSVILLE, N.J. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a ruling that prevents Mylan from marketing a generic version of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical’s epilepsy drug Topamax, according to Reuters.
The decision was originally found in a District Court in New Jersey. Now, Mylan has to wait until the patent expires in September before launching a generic.
Topamax had sales in 2007 of over $1.8 billion.
Independents, chains team up to spread the word about e-prescribing
ALEXANDRIA, Va. On April 17, a new campaign will launch in thousands of pharmacies, aimed at informing patients about the benefits of e-prescribing and also encouraging them to tell their doctors about the technology.
Many independent pharmacies are joining the campaign, along with such big chains as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kerr and Wal-Mart, to promote the program through in-store signs and educational material. Signage that reads “e-prescriptions filled here” and “give your prescriptions a head start” will be found on pharmacy doors and at counters.
Patients interested in learning more about the program—such as which pharmacies or physicians in their area practice e-prescribing—will be directed to the campaign’s Web site, www.LearnAboutEprescriptions.com.
To prove the worth of e-prescribing, Walgreens and SureScripts, who is providing the network for the e-prescribing pharmacies, have released a survey showing the benefits of implementing e-prescribing in a pharmacy.
According to the findings of the Walgreens/SureScripts study, prescriptions filled at pharmacies increased by 11 percent once physicians began actively using e-prescribing and that the savings for pharmacy labor costs are $1.07 for every new prescription and $0.41 for every refill due to e-prescribing.