PHARMACY

NCPA praises choice of Daschle as HHS secretary in Obama Cabinet

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The expected nomination of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., to become the next secretary of Health & Human Services is drawing praise from the independent pharmacy industry.

Word surfaced yesterday that President-elect Barack Obama would tap Daschle for the high-profile post. If nominated and confirmed, the move would put the former lawmaker in charge of a massive federal health infrastructure that includes the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control.

In response, the National Community Pharmacists Association praised Obama’s choice for HHS secretary. “The National Community Pharmacists Association would like to congratulate Tom Daschle on being selected to be secretary of HHS in the Obama-Biden Administration next year,” said NCPA executive vice president and chief executive officer Bruce Roberts today. “During his time in the Senate, Mr. Daschle embraced common-sense policies that allowed our more than 23,000 members to operate on a level playing field in providing patients with their health care needs.”

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FDA, SciClone meet agreement on distribution of melanoma treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration has reached an agreement with a drug maker on the design of a phase 3 trial of a skin cancer drug.

SciClone Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that it had reached the agreement with the agency concerning the drug thymalfasin, which it sees as a potential treatment for stage 4 melanoma.

“Patients suffering from stage 4 melanoma have very few treatment options available,” SciClone chief medical officer Israel Rios said in a statement. “Based on the positive data from an earlier phase 2 trial, thymalfasin could provide new treatment modalities for this high unmet medical need.”

The drug, if approved, will be sold under the brand name Zadaxin. The full name of its active ingredient is thymosin alpha 1.

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Teva releases generic version of AstraZeneca’s Pulmicort

BY Alaric DeArment

NORTH WALES, Pa. The world’s largest maker of generic drugs has introduced a generic version of AstraZeneca’s Pulmicort Respules.

Teva announced Wednesday that it had launched budesonide inhalation suspension, a treatment for asthma, in 0.25-mg-per-2-milliliters and 0.5-mg-per-2-milliliter strengths.

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