PHARMACY

GlaxoSmithKline settles Paxil lawsuit: $40 million to health insurance providers

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $40 million to health plans that paid for the antidepressant Paxil for children and adolescents in a settlement in a United States District Court in Minneapolis.

The settlement, made Wednesday, ends a class-action lawsuit against the British drug maker by health plans alleging that GSK had failed to disclose negative information about the safety and efficacy of the drug when used by children and adolescents.

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride) for children, but doctors still prescribe it for them. Studies have shown that it leads to increased suicidal thoughts among adolescents. The drug had global sales of $974.3 million in 2007, according to GSK financial data. A number of companies sell generic versions.

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Albertsons begins $4.99 generic prescription drug program

BY Jenna Duncan

BOISE, Idaho Albertsons today announced the launch of Albertsons Rx-tra Savings prescription discount program. The membership-based program offers 30-day supplies of more than 500 generic prescription drugs for $4.99. Albertsons pharmacies are also discontinuing the “Meet or Beat” pricing program, the company said.

Generic drugs included in the program include treatments for asthma, depression, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

To join the program, members can pay a one-time $10 fee at the pharmacy to cover all members of the household. To launch the program, for a limited time Albertson’s is giving away $10 Albertsons gift certificates to those who sign up. 

Albertsons operates 250 units in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas.

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APhA encourages more patient-pharmacist communication

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The American Pharmacists Association is urging customers to get to know their pharmacists for American Pharmacists Month, APhA said Wednesday.

“Pharmacists are on the frontlines of helping patients get the most out of their medications,” APhA chief executive officer and executive vice president John Gans said.

 

“As our population ages, and more people become dependent on medications than ever before, pharmacists will play an increasingly prevalent role on the healthcare team and in improving medication use and advancing patient care.”

An APhA survey has shown that almost 70 percent of consumers don’t know their pharmacists’ names, so during its campaign, the organization plans to “underscore the link between knowing your pharmacist and the safe and effective use of medications” and inform consumers of some of the patient-care services that pharmacists offer.

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