PHARMACY

H. D. Smith launches new Web site

BY Allison Cerra

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. H. D. Smith, a customer-focused national supplier of healthcare products, services and business solutions, announced Friday the launch of their new company Web site, www.HDSmith.com.

The user-friendly interface offers scroll-down sub-sections wherein retail pharmacies, health systems and specialty facilities can access information customized to their unique sector needs. The site features vital news updates on product from recalls to new product introductions, important reimbursement updates, policy announcements and customer best-practice stories.

In addition to the product, service and industry-policy information, customers can subscribe to one of the H. D. Smith specialized e-newsletters providing insight on government affairs, reimbursement announcements, business-sector developments and manufacturer recalls, backorders and new product introductions.

“The new H. D. Smith Web site supports our mission to provide practice-strengthening information to our customers by developing technologies that respond to their evolving needs,” said Dale Smith, chairman and CEO at H. D. Smith. “Our goal is to provide customers of all sizes and locations the resources needed to access our services at their convenience. The new site provides customers improved access to information that helps their businesses run with enhanced efficiency and knowledge.”

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PHARMACY

Congress investigates rising drug prices

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK An article in The New York Times about rising drug prices has sparked an investigation by members of Congress, the newspaper reported Thursday.

Based on calculations by Wall Street analysts, IMS Health and AARP, the Times reported Sunday that while drug makers had promised to lower overall drug prices by $8 billion, wholesale prices of branded drugs had risen by 9%, to $10 billion. This happened despite a concurrent 1.3% contraction of the Consumer Price Index.

Now, Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel of New York, John Lewis of Georgia, Henry Waxman and Pete Stark of California and Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson have asked the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services for “an immediate and thorough investigation into drug industry pricing and recent increases, and the extent to which these increases may affect the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” the Times reported.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents the drug industry, criticized the Times’ article.

“Unfortunately, today’s New York Times only tells half a story, using selected statistics to make a flawed assumption that an increase in drug prices must somehow be tied to healthcare reform,” PhRMA SVP Ken Johnson said in a statement. “In truth, price increases are the natural result of market forces.”

Johnson said drug companies determined prices independently based on considerations such as patent expirations and research and development costs, noting that many of PhRMA’s member companies have experienced flat or negative revenue growth.

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AstraZeneca seeks approval for Brilinta

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. AstraZeneca has submitted an approval application to the Food and Drug Administration for an antiplatelet drug, the Anglo-Swedish drug maker announced Thursday.

The company said the drug, with the proposed brand name Brilinta (ticagrelor), reduces the risk of heart attacks and other cardiac events in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

The submission is based on results of a phase 3 trial comparing Brilinta with Plavix (clopidogrel), made by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Sanofi-Aventis in patients also taking aspirin.

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