PHARMACY

NCPA offers Prescription Disposal Program

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. As the world recognizes Earth Day, the National Community Pharmacists Association is launching its new Prescription Disposal Program that offers information and resources for pharmacies to create prescription drug disposal programs for consumers.

“Protecting your pharmacy means protecting your staff, patients, and the community,” said NCPA EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts. “With growing concerns regarding prescription drug abuse and drugs in drinking water, we at NCPA want to assist our members in taking action. The new NCPA Prescription Disposal Program will help community pharmacies create programs for their patients to safely dispose of unused and expired medicines that may be dangerous to others and to the environment. Some of the programs may even help the environment by converting pharmaceutical waste to energy.”

NCPA members will receive access to a free online Prescription Disposal Program toolkit including planning guides, customizable marketing and publicity materials, as well as resource links and information on state waste programs and potential reverse distribution partners that provide a variety of disposal options.

This program is on the heels of two recent reports from the Associated Press on the presence of 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals found in U.S. waterways that provide drinking water and research finding fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression.

The National Community Pharmacists Association represents America’s community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $84 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 300,000 full-time employees, and dispense nearly half of the nation’s retail prescription medicines.

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Merck & Co. reports 8% Q1 worldwide sales drop

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck & Co. said its merger with Schering-Plough was “progressing as planned” in its first quarter 2009 financial report Tuesday.

That news coincided with worldwide sales of $5.4 billion, an 8% decrease from the same period last year, including a 3% decrease due to foreign exchange rates, reduced by a further 3% due to the loss of market exclusivity for the osteoporosis drug Fosamax (alendronate sodium). Net income for the quarter was $1.425 billion, compared with $3.3 billion in first quarter 2008.

The company reported augmenting its pipeline by signing agreements with Insmed, Cardiome, Santen, Medarex and Massachusetts Biologic Labs, but delayed filing for regulatory approval of the investigational migraine drug telcagepant.

“Our first-quarter results in part reflect the impact of the difficult global economy on patients, providers and payers, but we remain on track to meet our full-year earnings guidance,” president and CEO Richard Clark stated. “We believe our planned merger with Schering-Plough will accelerate Merck’s transformation into a global healthcare leader, built for sustainable growth and success.”

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N.Y. seeks to ban cigarettes at pharmacies

BY Alaric DeArment

ALBANY, N.Y. Smokers in New York state soon may find a narrower range of sources of their habit.

A bill introduced in the state’s legislature would ban the sale of tobacco at retail pharmacies and stores that operate pharmacies, including supermarkets and mass merchandisers.

The bill follows similar laws enacted in San Francisco and Boston, but would be the first statewide bill.

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