PHARMACY

NCPA bolsters drug disposal program with new tools, discounts for independents

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association is giving independent drug store owners some new help in their ongoing effort to properly dispose of old and unwanted medications.

In line with American Pharmacists Month, the NCPA on Wednesday announced the availability of new discounts and product displays, as well as communications and marketing materials and event ideas as part of its successful prescription disposal program for consumers, DisposeMyMeds.org. The aim: to help pharmacists “demonstrate their role as a respected and knowledgeable resource on all aspects of medications, from dispensing to disposal,” the group noted.

“During American Pharmacists Month, community pharmacies that voluntarily offer drug disposal services for their patients have an opportunity to build their businesses while building better relationships with patients as they discuss their medication needs,” said Joseph Harmison, NCPA president and pharmacy owner in Arlington, Texas. “The Dispose My Meds program is another avenue to allow pharmacists to apply their clinical patient care knowledge and to promote proper adherence to the patient’s prescription medication regimen.”

The NCPA prescription disposal program was launched around the 40th anniversary of Earth Week in April via a partnership with the NCPA and Sharps Compliance. Behind the launch, Harmison said, was the need to address two pressing issues: drug diversion and environmental contamination.

As part of the program, NCPA members receive nearly 20% in discounts with shipping included on the products from the Sharps TakeAway Environmental Return System, along with free customizable marketing materials and a listing on a companion consumer website, DisposeMyMeds.org.

The program is designed to encourage community pharmacists to consider voluntarily initiating medication disposal programs, NCPA said. In a related development, the Senate and House of Representatives last month passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, S. 3397, with backing from the independent pharmacy organization.

To date, NCPA noted, more than 1,000 pharmacies in 48 states are participating in the Dispose My Meds program, and have collected some 12,000 lbs. of unused or expired medications. Participating pharmacies also have noted increased foot traffic and conversion of new patients, according to the group.

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FDA approves Par and Tris Pharma’s generic Tussionex

BY Alaric DeArment

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic treatment for cough and upper respiratory symptoms resulting from colds and allergies made by Par Pharmaceutical and Tris Pharma, Par said Tuesday.

The FDA approved hydrocodone polistirex and chlorpheniramine polistirex extended-release oral suspension. The drug is a generic version of UCB’s Tussionex, which has annual sales of around $226 million, according to IMS Health.

 

“The introduction of this first-to-market generic product will improve patient access to a much-needed therapy,” Par EVP and president Paul Campanelli said. “Our partner, Tris Pharma, has once again leveraged its innovative drug-delivery platform to bring this important product market.”

 

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HGS, Novartis halt further development of Zalbin

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Human Genome Sciences and Novartis have decided not to further develop an investigative biologic treatment for hepatitis C following the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to decline its approval, HGS said Tuesday.

 

HGS said it received a complete response letter from the FDA concerning the drug Zalbin (albinterferon alfa-2b). The FDA delivers a complete response letter to indicate that it has finished reviewing an application, but questions remain that preclude final approval.

 

 

HGS did not specify what the issues with the application were, but said it had expected to receive the letter.

 

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