PHARMACY

NACDS urges House to improve Part D, control prescription drug expenditures in healthcare reform legislation

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Retail pharmacy chains hope to see changes to Medicare Part D and assistance in controlling prescription drug expenditures included in the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, according to a letter delivered to members of the House this week.

In the letter – written to House Ways and Means Committee chairman Chuck Rangel, D-N.Y., House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and the committees’ ranking Republicans – National Association of Chain Drug Stores president Steven Anderson praised sections of the bill designed to cover the Medicare Part D coverage gap. The gap, also called the doughnut hole, causes seniors to lose Part D coverage when their annual prescription drug expenditures are between $2,700 and $6,154.

Anderson urged policies including a clarification of language ensuring that pharmacies would not be expected to cover the discounted portion of the price of a drug covered under Part D; expansion of extended days’ supplies of drugs – such as 90-day supplies – as a way to reduce dispensing fees and copays; and a rolling Part D enrollment period to alleviate disruptions in care that he said resulted from current enrollment rules.

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FDA approves additional use for Forteo

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new use for an osteoporosis drug, the agency announced Wednesday.

The FDA said it approved Eli Lilly & Co.’s drug Forteo (teriparatide) as a treatment for glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in adults with high risk for fracture.

Since 2002, the drug has included a boxed warning – the FDA’s highest warning – about the risk of bone cancer in patients taking it. Because patients with GIO may be younger than the ones who usually take Forteo, the warning will be updated, the agency said.

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Wyeth reports mixed results for Q2

BY Alaric DeArment

MADISON, N.J. Drug maker Wyeth had mixed fortunes during second quarter 2009, according to a financial report released Thursday.

The company reported a 13% increase in diluted earnings per share, but also a 4% decrease to $5.7 billion in global net revenue, though global net revenue increased by 2% when excluding the adverse effects of foreign exchange rates.

Wyeth also reported mixed results for its top-selling products. Sales of the antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) decreased by 25% for the quarter, though the children’s pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar (pneumococcal 7-valent conjugate vaccine [diphtheria CRM197 protein]) had a 13% sales increase, while the autoimmune disease drug Enbrel (etanercept) had a 7% increase in U.S. and Canadian sales.

“Wyeth’s results reflect the ongoing strength of our biotechnology and vaccine franchises Enbrel and Prevnar and our nutritionals products, all of which performed strongly around the world,” Wyeth CEO Bernard Poussot said in a statement. “Execution of our medical innovation strategy led to positive revenue growth in constant dollar terms.”

The company’s acquisition by Pfizer, announced earlier this year, received overwhelming support from Wyeth shareholders, the company said, with 98% of votes cast in favor. The acquisition is expected to close at the end of third quarter or during fourth quarter 2009.

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