PHARMACY

LegitScript launches pharmacy verification service online

BY Drew Buono

ARLINGTON, Va. LegitScript recently announced the launch of a new comprehensive Internet pharmacy verification and information service through its Web site, LegitScript.com. The service includes a search engine that allows users to determine whether an online pharmacy meets standards of quality and safe business practices. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy recognizes LegitScript’s Internet pharmacy verification standards.

LegitScript.com’s search engine currently contains some information about 500 Internet pharmacies. Of those, 325 are identified as not meeting LegitScript Internet pharmacy verification standards, 15 are approved, and the rest are under review.

“Rogue online pharmacies are a major source of illicit prescription drugs, but there are also numerous online pharmacies that are legal and safe,” said John Horton, LegitScript founder and president. “Our goal is to help Americans tell the difference.”

Horton said that online pharmacy verification is free for pharmacies that comply with the company’s standards. “We will not approve online pharmacies that hire doctors to write prescriptions without ever meeting the patient face-to-face – a disturbing and potentially dangerous practice,” said Horton. Canadian, other foreign, and “no-prescription-required” Internet pharmacies are likewise ineligible.

Horton urged consumers to use LegitScript’s interactive feature for reporting “rogue” online pharmacies that target children, engage in fraud or send out “spam” email. “Our initial survey of Internet pharmacy Web sites suggests that there may be as many as 20,000 ‘rogue’ pharmacy websites in existence. By contrast, we think that there are probably 200 – 300 that will meet our standards – about one percent,” said Horton. Information on rogue Internet pharmacies will be shared with law enforcement, regulators and third-party businesses that want to avoid doing business with Internet pharmacies that do not comply with LegitScript standards.

Later this year, the Web site will add a prescription drug price comparison tool, and information about insurance and health plans accepted by approved Internet pharmacies.

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Pfizer invests in FivePrime for diabetes, cancer treatments

BY Drew Buono

SAN FRANCISCO Pfizer has taken an equity investment in FivePrime Therapeutics as part of a new research and licensing deal to find antibody targets and therapeutic protein products to treat diabetes and cancer, according to published reports.

FivePrime, a preclinical stage company expected to file an investigational new drug application for its lead oncology compound within the next six weeks, will receive an upfront payment and the equity investment from Pfizer. It also will get three years of committed research funding.

The deal is one of the first by Pfizer’s new Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center. The center is trying to boost the company’s pipeline by acquiring companies with promising drug developments.

Pfizer will have exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize certain products and targets that are discovered, while FivePrime will receive future milestone and royalty payments.

The deal helps FivePrime take several of its potential cancer products into clinical trials while expanding its discovery work, said president and chief executive officer Gail Maderis.

The companies did not disclose figures for those aspects of the deal.

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H-E-B, Kraft partner to offer health screenings

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK H-E-B, the Texas grocery chain, will offer health screenings at all its pharmacies on the second Saturday of every month until October.

The “Second Saturday Health and Wellness Screenings” program is sponsored by Kraft and offers free glucose and blood pressure screenings, as well as discounts on lipid panel, A1C and cholesterol screenings. Customers will receive free samples of healthy products as well.

Each screening has a theme: children for June, the military for July, the beginning of the school year for August, fitness for September and wellness for October.

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