PHARMACY

NACDS notes community pharmacies’ commitment to H1N1 preparation

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores submitted an official statement as part of a House Committee on Energy and Commerce joint subcommittee hearing on “H1N1 Preparedness: An Overview of Vaccine Production and Distribution.”

NACDS expressed pharmacy’s commitment to patient health and safety and NACDS’ active role in preparation for the H1N1 influenza pandemic.

“We are pleased to report that the potential contribution of community pharmacies has been well recognized in public health pandemic plans. Community pharmacies have enrolledbroadly as H1N1 vaccine providers in state provider networks,” NACDS wrote to the committee.

NACDS’ statement offered constructive recommendations to enhance collaboration and communications for future national public health efforts. “Community pharmacies, the face of neighborhood health care, remain committed to assist public health efforts to protect our citizens through convenient vaccination services and distribution of influenza countermeasures,” the statement read.

Click here to read the full statement.

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FDA approves fifth H1N1 vaccine

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday announced that it has approved a fifth vaccine for protection against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, this one manufactured by ID Biomedical of Quebec, Canada, which is owned by GlaxoSmithKline.

As with the four previous H1N1 influenza vaccines licensed by the FDA on Sept. 15, ID Biomedical Corp. will manufacture its H1N1 vaccine using the established, licensed egg-based manufacturing process used for producing seasonal flu vaccine.

ID Biomedical’s H1N1 monovalent vaccine will be produced in multidose vials, in a formulation that contains thimerosal.

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PCMA responds to drug price increase

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON An article in The New York Times reporting that drug companies have dramatically increased the prices of drugs despite a decrease in the Consumer Price Index has prompted calls for biosimilars reform from an organization representing the nation’s pharmacy benefit managers.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association said that policy-makers should focus on creating a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars instead of “shell games” to lower prescription drug costs. “Increased choice and competition generated by pharmacy benefit managers has been pivotal in driving prescription-drug trend to historic lows, while expanding consumers’ access to drug and pharmacy choices,” a statement by PCMA read.

The Times reported Sunday that while drug companies have promised to lower overall drug prices by $8 billion, wholesale prices of branded drugs increased by 9%, while the Consumer Price Index decreased by 1.3%.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America criticized the article Monday, saying that drug companies determined drug prices independently based on such considerations as patent expirations and research and development costs, and that many PhRMA member companies had experienced flat or negative sales growth.

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