PHARMACY

More companies support payment transparency

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Trade groups representing the nation’s drug and medical device manufacturers and several of the manufacturers themselves have endorsed Senate legislation that would create a registry of companies’ payments to doctors.

The bill, the Physicians Payments Sunshine Act, co-sponsored by Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Herb Kohl, D-Wis., would create a database listing speaking fees, gifts and research payments to doctors by companies. It has received the endorsement of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Advanced Medical Technology Association, as well as Medtronic, AstraZeneca, Merck, Eli Lilly and other companies.

The companies would have to post payments to doctors of $500 or more every year. A previous version of the bill required reporting of payments of $25 or more. The National Physicians Alliance, which opposes the financial influence of pharmaceutical companies on medical education and practice, estimates that 94 percent of physicians accept payments or gifts from the pharmaceutical industry.

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PHARMACY

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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