PHARMACY

Health Canada issues a health advisory for Carbamazephine

BY Diana Alickaj

TORONTO An advisory of serious skin reactions has been announced by Health Canada in relation to the drug Carbamazephine, also known as Tegretol in Canadian markets.

According to published reports, Carabamazephine is said to have potentially fatal reactions especially for patients of Asian ancestry. According to Health Canada, all patients that are now considering taking the drug should consult with their doctors about taking a genetic test to determine if they have the specific marker that can cause a lethal reaction from the medicine.

Carbamazephine is indicated for patients who are suffering from epilepsy, mania, bipolar disorder and trigeminal neuralgia, a facial condition.

The advisory states that “Serious and sometimes fatal skin reactions known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis have been known to occur very rarely with carbamazepine. While all patients treated with carbamazepine are at risk of these skin reactions, the risk is approximately 10 times higher in Asian countries than in Western countries.”

Health Canada also advises that anyone experiencing reactions to the medication such as a rash, red skin, blistering of the lips, eyes or mouth and/or peeling skin and fever must immediately consult with a doctor. The advisory also strongly urges that those who are not experiencing any problems should not halt their medications based on the advisory until a doctor is contacted.

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Canada court blocks sale of generic form of Lipitor

BY Diana Alickaj

NEW YORK Canada’s appeals court ruled in favor of Pfizer not allowing Ranbaxy Labs to produce the generic version of the drug Lipitor, according to published reports.

The decision overturned a ruling made by lower courts that stated that the patent could not prohibit Ranbaxy from selling a cheaper version of Lipitor (atorvastin calcium), which is used to fight cholesterol.

The appeals court of Canada decided that Ranbaxy could manufacture its product as soon as Pfizer’s product expires in 2010, which leads many to believe that this decision will push Ranbaxy to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada.

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McCain’s healthcare plan suggests a loss for pharmaceutical companies

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON John McCain’s healthcare plan, with a call to purchase drugs in Canada, may cost American pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars, according to published reports.

According to McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, “The problem is not that most Americans lack adequate health insurance, the biggest problem with the American healthcare system is that it costs too much.”

McCain’s health policy would allow citizens to purchase medicines legally from Canada, which would make them more affordable for the reported 47 million Americans that don’t have health coverage.

According to published reports, such drugs as Pfizer’s Lipitor, known as the world’s biggest selling drug, costs $60.78 for a 30-day supply of 20 mg pills on CanadaDrugs.com, whereas Drugstore.com in the U.S. sells the same pill in the same amount for $119.99.

The new policy is predicted to cost drug makers—like Pfizer—about $40 billion over 10 years, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.

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