PHARMACY

HHS secretary encourages Kansas, Missouri to expand use of electronic records

BY Drew Buono

KANSAS CITY, Kan. Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt is encouraging health care partners in Kansas and Missouri to expand the use of electronic medical records by physicians, according to the Associated Press.

The problem is that while hospitals and larger physician groups have no trouble in paying the money to install the software, smaller physician groups have decided against it due to the high price.

Leavitt said his agency is planning a pilot project that would offer economic incentives to small- and medium-sized physician offices willing to install the systems and use them to improve patient care over five years.

But, the incentive is only $58,000 per physician and some physicians believe the price of installing the systems would be about $65,000 per physician. Doctors are therefore asking for more money in incentives in order to install the electronic medical record systems.

Mike Nelson, who will oversee the electronic medical records initiative for Health and Human Services, acknowledged that the costs are high and the government can’t change that. But he said the agency has asked insurance companies to consider offering similar incentives and many have indicated they may

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PHARMACY

Eli Lilly introduces its third new insulin pen in the past year

BY Drew Buono

INDIANAPOLIS Eli Lilly today launched its new insulin pen, KwikPen, which is prefilled with the Humalog brand of insulins. This is the third new insulin pen launched by the company in the last 12 months, following the launches of HumaPen MEMOIR, a digital insulin pen and HumaPen LUXURA, a reusable pen for people who need insulin dosing in smaller increments.

KwikPen is now available by prescription in pharmacies prefilled with the Humalog brand of insulins, including Humalog, Humalog Mix75/25 and Humalog Mix50/50. Patients using the original Humalog and Humalog Mixtures prefilled pen do not need to convert at this time.

“KwikPen, prefilled with Humalog and Humalog Mixtures, provides people with diabetes an exciting new option for accurate insulin dosing with the convenience of an easy-to-use prefilled pen,” said Matt Beebe, Humalog brand leader, Lilly USA.

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Pfizer to acquire Encysive, will gain rights to Thelin

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Pfizer has announced that it intends on buying Encysive Pharmaceuticals for about $195 million, according to the Associated Press.

As part of the deal, Pfizer would gain the rights to Encysive’s drug Thelin, which is approved in some European countries for the treatment of high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery. The drug is still awaiting approval in the U.S. Pfizer would also gain access to the rest of Encysive’s portfolio of drugs.

Pfizer already markets Revatio for high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery and Thelin would only strengthen the market for the company. Pfizer plans on conducting a late-stage trial of Thelin in the U.S. in hopes of obtaining final approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Analysts project the drug could make about $100 million annually by 2012.

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