PHARMACY

Impax settles patent litigation relating to Welchol products

BY Allison Cerra

HAYWARD, Calif. — Impax Labs has agreed not to market a generic version of a drug designed to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol in tablet form until 2015.

Impax said the agreement was part of a pending patent litigation between Impax and Daiichi Sankyo and Genzyme, the makers of Welchol (colesevelam HCl) tablets in the 625-mg strength, as well as oral suspensions in 1.875 g/packet and 3.75 g/packet sizes. Under the terms of the agreement, Impax will launch its tablet product on March 2, 2015 or earlier under certain circumstances. Terms pertaining to the launch of generic Welchol oral suspension products by Impax were not disclosed.

U.S. sales of Welchol tablets and Welchol oral suspension were approximately $325 million and $65 million, respectively, for the 12-month period ended in May, according to Wolters Kluwer Health data.

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NACDS seeks to renew focus on value of community pharmacy

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Amid ongoing economic challenges and a continued debate about the best uses of healthcare dollars in private and public healthcare plans, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Wednesday called for a renewed focus on the value of community pharmacy.

"The nation and the states need policy-makers, and the healthcare community needs decision-makers, who recognize the power of community pharmacy services to lower overall healthcare costs and improve patient health, and who do not fall into the short-sighted trap of viewing pharmacy services and prescription drug costs in a vacuum. This is a critical message that is taking root among forward-thinking and results-oriented policy-makers, payers and employers," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson stated.

He added that the current environment has underscored the importance of NACDS’ effort to emphasize community pharmacy’s role as the face of neighborhood health care.

"The public needs to hear even more about successes like North Carolina’s ChecKmeds NC program, which is an example of how face-to-face medication therapy management services for Medicare patients have helped to deliver a return on investment of $13.55 for every $1 invested," Anderson said. "North Carolina is an example of the benefits of viewing pharmacy services broadly and correctly, in the context of reducing overall healthcare costs. This is a vital message for public and private payers alike: Now is not the time to cut pharmacy reimbursement, but rather to unleash the unsurpassed power of community pharmacy to improve health and reduce costs across the board."

With the nearing of the 2012 elections, and even the 2011 off-year state elections, be certain that NACDS’ political involvement and other programs will reflect this focus on pharmacy’s value.

Anderson announced the next and more robust phase of NACDS’ proactive campaign to educate elected officials and candidates at the national and state levels — and to evaluate NACDS’ support for candidates based on their recognition of community pharmacy¹s ability to improve health and reduce overall healthcare costs.

NACDS will engage its NACDS RxImpact Votes program and other initiatives to help drive home the message of pharmacies as the face of neighborhood health care. NACDS RxImpact Votes helps pharmacies provide educational information to employees about registering to vote, volunteering for campaigns and getting out to vote on Election Day. In addition, NACDS is working with member pharmacies to invite candidates for pharmacy tours, to volunteer for candidates’ healthcare advisory panels, to participate in the interviewing of candidates regarding their positions on pharmacy issues and to raise awareness of activities of the NACDS Political Action Committee.

NACDS stated that it currently is working on a one-on-one basis with member companies to identify their current political programs and to tailor the association’s support for these company initiatives on a customized basis.

"Our message is simple: There is no greater partner for the health of patients and for the vitality of the healthcare delivery system than community pharmacy," Anderson said.

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First-ever Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus established

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., have established the first-ever Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus, an effort endorsed Wednesday by the National Community Pharmacists Association.

NCPA’s efforts to help establish a Senate Pharmacy Caucus were reported one month ago here.

The new Senate caucus is intended to complement the Congressional Community Pharmacy Caucus in the House, founded in 2007, and currently co-chaired by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Mike Ross, D-Ark. That caucus now features 30 House members.

"Sens. Jerry Moran and Jon Tester are terrific leaders for the inaugural Senate Community Pharmacy Caucus," NCPA’s EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey said. "They have long advocated common-sense solutions for the challenges facing community pharmacists and their patients. These have included increasing patient choice and reducing wasteful pharmaceutical spending by reforming pharmacy benefit management business practices and preserving patient access to durable medical equipment and in-person counseling on its proper use. Indeed, greater utilization of clinically trained community pharmacists in federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid can produce improvements in all metrics of success."

Sen. Moran was one of the original founders of the Congressional Community Pharmacy Caucus in 2007 when he was a member of the House. He was the lead sponsor of several pieces of legislation in the House, including the Community Pharmacy Fairness Act of 2009 and legislation which provided an accreditation exemption for small pharmacies supplying durable medical equipment.

"Community pharmacists are vital to our health care delivery system," Moran said. "In many Kansas communities and throughout the country, the local pharmacist is a patient’s most direct link to health care. The access to medications, health care supplies, and counsel pharmacists provide matters greatly to the health and well-being of every American. This caucus will provide valuable resources to senators as we work to see that all Americans have better access to affordable health care."

"Community pharmacies provide essential services for Montana’s rural communities," Tester added. "These small businesses are a critical part of what keeps rural America strong and healthy. If folks in rural America don’t have access to life-saving medicine and medical supplies, rural America will disappear. That’s why I’m proud to champion Montana’s community pharmacies and the good-paying jobs they support."

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