PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA, FMI request House members withhold support for e-pedigree bill

BY Adam Kraemer

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, in conjunction with the National Community Pharmacists Association and the Food Marketing Institute sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday requesting that members vote against H.R. 5839, Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act of 2008.

The legislation, which is intended to help secure the prescription drug distribution system against counterfeit drugs, contains a call for a mandatory “electronic pedigree/track and trace” program that the organizations oppose.

“While we appreciate that the sponsors of H.R. 5839 share our goal of further strengthening the prescription drug supply chain, we would ask that you withhold your support from the legislation,” the letter read, in part. “The bill contains several commendable elements, but it would also mandate an unproven, disruptive and costly … requirement that would severely interfere with pharmacies’ ability to effectively provide vital prescription medicines and health care products and services.”

“We hope to work with the sponsors and others on the Committee to advance … proposals that will take the right steps to further secure the prescription drug distribution system—which, while not perfect—has proven to be highly reliable and safe.”

Click here to see the full text of the letter.

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Sanofi-Aventis, Debiopharm sue W.C. Heraeus over Eloxatin patent

BY Drew Buono

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. Sanofi-Aventis and Debiopharm have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against W.C. Heraeus, in which they accuse the company of helping generic drug makers infringe a patent on their active ingredient for the colorectal cancer drug Eloxatin.

In the suit, the plaintiffs claim that Heraeus manufactured the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Eloxatin for Mayne Pharma, Sandoz and Ebewe Pharma. The three companies independently submitted applications to sell generic versions of the drug before the 2013 expiration of the ‘874 patent.

Sanofi and Debiopharm have asked the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Heraeus and its officers from selling and importing generic oxaliplatin products claimed in the patent into the U.S.

Currently, there are no FDA-approved generic versions of the drug, which had worldwide sales of $2.35 billion in 2007, according to Sanofi.

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FutureScripts launches new Web site

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA FutureScripts, a pharmacy benefit manager in Philadelphia, has unveiled a new website, www.futurescripts.com. The website is a tool for plan participants, health care professionals and benefit managers to help find key information about the drugs on FutureScripts’ formulary, how safe prescribing procedures work and much more.

“The new website allows our customers to find vital information about their medications—whether a drug is available as a generic and what that drug costs compared to similar medications,” said Paul Urick, senior vice president of FutureScripts. “Our website also provides health care professionals and plan participants the latest updates on the drugs on our formulary.”

Through the site, plan participants can find a participating pharmacy within the FutureScripts’ national network of more than 60,000 retail and specialty locations by ZIP code search or by entering a pharmacy name benefit managers can read about the latest pharmacy trends through the online FutureScripts InSight newsletter. The frequently asked questions section features the most common inquiries received by FutureScripts, ranging from ‘What is a 96-hour temporary supply?’ to ‘How do I request an exception to an age, gender, or quantity limit?’

“Overall, our new site was designed to service the needs of our customers and was developed in response to their suggestions,” said Urick. “We expect to further enhance and customize our website to fit the evolving needs of plan participants, employers, health care providers, and pharmacists.”

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