PHARMACY

J&J: Agreements with Schering-Plough void after Merck merger

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. The planned merger between Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co. would permit the termination of agreements between Schering-Plough and Johnson & Johnson’s biotech division, J&J asserted in an arbitration demand filed Wednesday with the American Arbitration Association, an alternative dispute resolution organization.

The drug maker said the planned merger constituted a change of control that would allow the termination between agreements its Centocor Ortho Biotech division made with Schering-Plough regarding the inflammatory and immunological disease drugs Remicade (infliximab) and Simponi (golimumab).

“As its public statements have made clear, Merck is acquiring Schering-Plough,” J&J said in a statement. “The acquisition constitutes a change of control that tribbers the right of our Centocor Ortho Biotech subsidiary to terminate the agreements.”

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Study: Insomnia costs U.S. economy $42 billion a year

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Insomnia costs the U.S. economy $42 billion a year, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report, sponsored by drug maker Sanofi-Aventis and the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, shows that many of the estimated 70 million cases of insomnia among Americans remain undiagnosed and untreated.

People with insomnia miss work twice as often as those without it and cost employers about 4.4 days of wages per untreated individual every six months. In some industries and professions, this can have particularly harmful effects: Professionals in training working in health care on recurring 24-hour shifts with little sleep make 36% more serious medical errors and as many as five times as many serious diagnostic errors than those limited to 16 hours.

“We should treat insomnia as it should be treated: a serious medical condition that has significant health and economic implications,” CMPI VP Robert Goldberg said. “Like other chronic diseases, insomnia has been managed according to the cost of treating patients instead of the cost the disease exacts on individuals, employers and society.”

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NABP recommends state boards of pharmacy require PTCB certification

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON An organization that certifies pharmacy techs has heralded a recommendation by one of its parent organizations that encourages state boards of pharmacy to require certification.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board announced Wednesday that the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy recommended state boards of pharmacy to require PTCB certification.

The NABP will amend its Model Act to recommend that all boards of pharmacy require certification of pharmacy technicians by 2015, in accordance with the JCPP Future Vision of Pharmacy Practice.

The PTCB said that part of ensuring that pharmacy technicians meet standards of accountability is implementing a standard measure of competency. According to a poll that the organization commissioned in 2007, 91% of American consumers support strong, nationwide regulations to require training and certification of pharmacy technicians.

“The task force’s latest encouragement of this standard reinforces PTCB’s place as the strongest certification program available for pharmacy technicians,” PTCB executive director and CEO Melissa Murer Corrigan said. “Having consistent requirements for pharmacy technician certification in every state is an important first step towards meeting the high standard of safety that patients expect and deserve.”

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