PHARMACY

Groups bring attention to lack of translation services in N.Y. pharmacies

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Advocacy groups in New York are calling for pharmacies to be required to offer translation services to its customers in hope of avoiding medication errors by many of the people in the state who do not speak English or do not speak English as a first language, according to published reports.

Two groups, the New York Lawyers for Public Interest and Make the Road by Walking filed a formal complaint with the state attorney general’s office, claiming 16 pharmacies in Queens and Brooklyn routinely failed to translate drug labels or provide instruction to non-English speakers, thus violating their statutory duty.

The groups are hoping for such legislation as in a 2006 law that set out language requirements for hospitals. The groups also stated the language problems are found more in chain retailers than in independent pharmacies.

The problem may soon reach higher members of government. The groups are saying that some of the customers who face these language barriers are picking up their medication but not using it because they can’t read the directions and therefore do not what the appropriate doses are. The breakdown was not released, but reports said that most likely these customers are using government health plans like Medicaid to receive their prescriptions. This, in turn, is turning into a waste of money by the government and—if it gets worse—could lead more people to look into possible solutions for all pharmacies.

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Lilly and PsychoGenics partner on neuropsychiatric disorder treatments

BY Drew Buono

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. PsychoGenics and Eli Lilly have entered into a drug discovery agreement aimed at identifying drug candidates suitable for clinical developments.

Per the agreement, Lilly will supply precandidate compounds that PsychoGenics will evaluate using its proprietary drug discovery technologies for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Upon Lilly’s further development of clinical candidates, PsychoGenics would receive research and milestone payments, as well as royalties.

Emer Leahy, president and chief executive officer of PsychoGenics, said, “We are delighted to once again work with Lilly and play an integral and expanding role in a successful drug discovery collaboration. We are confident that by combining the complementary strengths and expertise of PsychoGenics and Lilly, we may identify a new generation of treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders.”

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Roche asks for clearance to bring Mircera to market

BY Drew Buono

BASEL, Switzerland Roche is asking a U.S. judge for clearance to sell an anti-anemia drug by offering a royalty to Amgen and offering the drug at a price that is lower than what Amgen charges for its top anemia drug, according to published reports.

Roche won regulatory approval for Mircera as a treatment for anemia associated with kidney disease in November. But it hasn’t brought the drug to market because it lost a civil trial in October in which a federal jury found Mircera violated patents held by Amgen. Amgen sells drugs Aranesp and Epogen to treat anemia associated with kidney disease and cancer chemotherapy.

Although Roche lost the patent trial to Amgen, it is now seeking permission from Judge William Young to bring Mircera to the market by arguing that it would serve the public interest. Roche also has proposed selling Mircera at an initial “wholesale acquisition cost” that is about 5 percent less than the current “average selling price” of Amgen’s Aranesp. Also, it would pay Amgen a royalty 20 percent of net sales of Mircera while Amgen’s patents are still enforced, assuming the original ruling of infringement stands.

Roche said it would begin taking steps to market Mircera if the judge doesn’t rule on Amgen’s injunction request on Feb. 28, when oral arguments are scheduled in the case. Roche would be doing this even though they would be at risk to pay Amgen penalties if the infringement case isn’t overturned.

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