PHARMACY

HealthGrades.com offers prescription drug ratings for consumers

BY Drew Buono

GOLDEN, Colo. The health care ratings organization HealthGrades has launched a prescription drug rating and comparison tool for patients on its website HealthGrades.com.

HealthGrades’ drug ratings tool lets individuals research and compare more than 4,300 prescription drugs side by side in a user-friendly format that, according to the company displays:

  • Physician-prescribing information including each drug’s rank in its class of drugs based on the number of prescriptions filled and the percent increase or decrease in the number of prescriptions filled versus one-year prior.
  • User ratings on effectiveness, tolerability, ease of use, would you recommend, and overall value.
  • A printable report that helps patients find the right drug and improve their compliance. The report provides a drug score based on how the patient responded to questions about a drug. This drug score reflects the patient’s experience with the drug and helps guides them in engaging their physician in a discussion about the drug.
  • Availability of a generic equivalent.
  • Flag indicating that a drug is new and has been on the market for less than one year.
  • Price range compared to other drugs.
  • Drug safety information, including side effects, drug interactions and official warnings and alerts.

“Patients often do not tell their physician when they are having problems with a drug; they just stop taking it or do not take it as instructed,” said Samantha Collier, HealthGrades chief medical officer. “One of goals of the drug ratings tool is to assist patients in knowing when and how to talk to their doctor.”

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PHARMACY

Sanofi-Aventis, Debiopharm sue W.C. Heraeus over Eloxatin patent

BY Drew Buono

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. Sanofi-Aventis and Debiopharm have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against W.C. Heraeus, in which they accuse the company of helping generic drug makers infringe a patent on their active ingredient for the colorectal cancer drug Eloxatin.

In the suit, the plaintiffs claim that Heraeus manufactured the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Eloxatin for Mayne Pharma, Sandoz and Ebewe Pharma. The three companies independently submitted applications to sell generic versions of the drug before the 2013 expiration of the ‘874 patent.

Sanofi and Debiopharm have asked the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Heraeus and its officers from selling and importing generic oxaliplatin products claimed in the patent into the U.S.

Currently, there are no FDA-approved generic versions of the drug, which had worldwide sales of $2.35 billion in 2007, according to Sanofi.

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FutureScripts launches new Web site

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA FutureScripts, a pharmacy benefit manager in Philadelphia, has unveiled a new website, www.futurescripts.com. The website is a tool for plan participants, health care professionals and benefit managers to help find key information about the drugs on FutureScripts’ formulary, how safe prescribing procedures work and much more.

“The new website allows our customers to find vital information about their medications—whether a drug is available as a generic and what that drug costs compared to similar medications,” said Paul Urick, senior vice president of FutureScripts. “Our website also provides health care professionals and plan participants the latest updates on the drugs on our formulary.”

Through the site, plan participants can find a participating pharmacy within the FutureScripts’ national network of more than 60,000 retail and specialty locations by ZIP code search or by entering a pharmacy name benefit managers can read about the latest pharmacy trends through the online FutureScripts InSight newsletter. The frequently asked questions section features the most common inquiries received by FutureScripts, ranging from ‘What is a 96-hour temporary supply?’ to ‘How do I request an exception to an age, gender, or quantity limit?’

“Overall, our new site was designed to service the needs of our customers and was developed in response to their suggestions,” said Urick. “We expect to further enhance and customize our website to fit the evolving needs of plan participants, employers, health care providers, and pharmacists.”

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