PHARMACY

Lilly’s Evista patents upheld in appeals court ruling

BY Allison Cerra

INDIANAPOLIS Eli Lilly’s method-of-use patents for its osteoporosis drug were declared valid by a federal court of appeals.

The drug maker said the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed a prior ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana that the company’s patents for Evista (raloxifene HCl tablets) are valid.

“Protection of intellectual property rights is extremely important to the biopharmaceutical industry and the patients we serve. We will continue to vigorously defend our rights, in order to support the development of the next generation of innovative medicines,” said Robert Armitage, SVP and general counsel for Lilly.

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NCPA to DEA: ‘Institutional facilitators’ can help LTC facilities

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration that featured a solution to provide prescription medications to patients in long-term care facilities in a timely manner, NCPA said.

NCPA stated in its letter that recent changes in interpretation and enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act have delayed access of prescription drugs to long-term care patients; many of the medications are designed to alleviate severe pain. The CSA has upended the process in which nurses relay information between the physicians and pharmacists — when a direct physician-pharmacist communication was impractical — to ensure the timely administration of critical medications used to treat residents’ pain. DEA’s current enforcement approach allows such “nurse as agent” exchanges in a hospital setting, but not in long-term care facilities, NCPA said.

To mitigate this, NCPA has suggested that the DEA develop a subcategory of its registrant called an “institutional facilitator,” which would allow nurses to resume communicating valid prescriptions to the pharmacist so that the appropriate medicine is administered to the patient on a timely basis.

“The current system related to the lawful and prompt dispensing of controlled substances in long-term care facilities is broken,” NCPA said. “This solution provides for the common goal of ensuring timely medication access to patients in pain while recognizing the DEA’s mission to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States.”

Approximately 31% of all independent community pharmacies service a long-term care facility, with the majority located in areas with a population of less than 20,000, NCPA noted.

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Affordable Care Act pays off for Medicare beneficiaries, Sebelius says

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON More than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries have received prescription drug cost relief through the Affordable Care Act, Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced.

Eligible beneficiaries automatically receive rebate checks in the mail — which are designed to help beneficiaries save money on their prescription drugs — when they reach the coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” and they don’t have to sign up to be eligible for the rebates. Next year, those who fall into the doughnut hole will receive a 50% discount on covered brand-name medications while in the coverage gap. In addition to helping Medicare beneficiaries save on prescription drug costs, the Affordable Care Act also seeks to prevent fraud against seniors, Sebelius said.

“Many seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare face extraordinary prescription drug costs, and too often stop following the drug regimens that their doctors have recommended as a result,” Sebelius said. “These checks will make a difference in helping seniors continue to get the medications they need, and are one of many ways that the Affordable Care Act is helping seniors.”

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