NCPA backs bill to enhance pharmacy competition
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday announced support for the Quality Health Care Coalition Act of 2011 (H.R. 1409), which was introduced last week by House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, in an effort to improve the quality of patient care by leveling the playing field between healthcare professionals and insurance companies in the healthcare industry.
“Currently, the insurance industry, including healthcare insurance providers, is immune from federal antitrust laws under the McCarran-Ferguson Act,” Conyers stated. “As a result, the playing field is woefully unbalanced. By restoring the freedom of medical professionals to voluntarily come together to negotiate as a group with HMOs and insurance companies, this bill removes a government-imposed barrier to a true free market in health care.”
In response to the legislation, NCPA EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey said, “the competitive landscape is particularly inequitable in the pharmacy marketplace. The major [pharmacy benefit managers] administer drug plans and operate rival mail-order pharmacies. This inherent conflict of interest creates an even greater incentive for benefit managers to restrict patient choice of pharmacy and impose unfair audit and reimbursement practices.”
This marks the fourth iteration of the Quality Health Care Coalition Act. In 2000, the House passed similar legislation, H.R. 1304, the Quality Healthcare Coalition Act of 1999, offered by Reps. Tom Campbell, R-Calif., and Conyers. That bill passed the House by a vote of 276-136 but was not taken up the Senate. Similar legislation was introduced in the 107th (H.R. 3897) and 108th (H.R. 1120) congresses.
FDA advisory committee recommends approval for Pfizer’s Sutent
NEW YORK — A Food and Drug Administration expert panel has given a favorable vote to a drug made by Pfizer for tumors, Pfizer said Tuesday.
The FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 8-2 that Sutent’s (sunitinib malate) benefits outweigh its risks in the treatment of unresectable pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
While the FDA is not bound by advisory committee votes, it takes them into consideration when deciding whether or not to approve a drug.
FDA accepts regulatory application for Bio-T-Gel
LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. — The Food and Drug Administration has accepted a regulatory approval application for a topical treatment for low testosterone made by Teva Pharmaceuticals and BioSante Pharmaceuticals, BioSante said Wednesday.
The two companies said the FDA had accepted their application for Bio-T-Gel and expected to complete its review by mid-November.
BioSante originally developed the gel and will receive milestone payments and royalties, and Teva will take responsibility for regulatory and marketing activities. The market for male testosterone products in the United States is more than $1.2 billion, according to BioSante.