PHARMACY

NCPA busy on Capitol Hill

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Capping off a meeting that brought hundreds of independent community pharmacists to Washington for the National Community Pharmacists Association Legislative Conference, members of Congress joined pharmacists at the Capitol on Wednesday to discuss the cost-saving services provided by local pharmacies now and in the future.

At the rally, NCPA endorsed S. 1058, the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2011, bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., to help safeguard patient’s choice of pharmacy, bolster privacy rights and reduce wasteful pharmaceutical spending.

“Community pharmacists greatly appreciate the bipartisan support expressed this week for local pharmacies and the vital health services they provide to patients,” stated Robert Greenwood, NCPA president. “It’s critical that the patient-pharmacist partnership be strengthened. … The Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act will help preserve patients’ access to their preferred pharmacy and encourage greater pharmacy competition for consumers.”

S. 1058 is companion legislation to H.R. 1971, sponsored by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. This piece of legislation will help establish new consumer protections against the sale of sensitive patient information and help eliminate unnecessary pharmaceutical spending.

Earlier this week, Reps. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., introduced the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act that will exempt independent pharmacies from competitive bidding and will allow seniors to continue receiving diabetes testing supplies and counseling on their proper use from independent community pharmacies. Community pharmacists also are backing the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act, H.R. 891 and S. 274, NCPA stated.

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Court grants Amylin temporary restraining order to bar Lilly from using same sales team

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO — Eli Lilly is temporarily barred from using the same sales team to market two diabetes drugs, under a court order issued Thursday.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California issued a temporary restraining order forbidding Lilly from using the same staff to market the drugs Byetta and Bydureon (exenatide), which it developed and co-markets with Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and the recently approved drug Tradjenta (linagliptin), which it developed and co-markets with Boehringer Ingelheim. Bydureon, a long-acting version of Byetta, still is awaiting Food and Drug Administration approval.

Amylin filed suit against Lilly on May 16, alleging that Tradjenta would directly compete against Byetta and Bydureon and that Lilly had thus violated its contractual agreement with Amylin. While both drugs treat Type 2 diabetes, Lilly responded by pointing out that the two drugs did not compete because Tradjenta is an orally administered drug while Byetta and Bydureon are injectables.

“We are disappointed with the court’s decision to grant a temporary restraining order in this case,” Lilly SVP and general counsel Robert Armitage said. “We have complied with our contractual obligations under our agreements with Amylin in a manner fully consistent with all applicable laws. We believe that Amylin’s allegations against Lilly are entirely without merit, and we expect to prevail in this litigation.”

In the meantime, Lilly said it would comply with the restraining order.

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Biogen Idec introduces Women in MS educational initiative

BY Allison Cerra

WESTON, Mass. — Biogen Idec is looking to address the advantages and challenges female clinicians experience in treating patients living with multiple sclerosis through a new educational initiative.

"Women in MS," the drug maker said, will includes a series of local seminars held throughout 2011 that feature female healthcare professionals at the forefront of MS research and treatment, as well as a mentor matching service to enable ongoing participant networking. The inaugural seminar took place Tuesday in Seattle and was broadcast live to venues in Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

"The goal of the ‘Women in MS’ initiative is to identify gender-related communication gaps and unmet resource needs, and [to] provide opportunities for clinicians to begin developing and initiating solutions," said Nancy Richert, senior fellow at Biogen Idec. "As a leader in MS treatment for more than 15 years, we are proud to be partnering with treating clinicians on this unique initiative to help drive excellence in MS care."

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