PHARMACY

New bill proposed to limit illegal prescription drug sales on Web

BY Diana Alickaj

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. In an effort to limit sales of illegitimate prescription drugs on the web, the Senate passed “The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008,” with support from Go Daddy.com, according to published reports.

The bill’s purpose is to require that all web-based companies that sell prescription drugs can only dispense the drugs to those that have a valid prescription along with an examination by a health care provider.

The bill was supported fully by the Go Daddy network, which is known as the world’s largest paid Web hosting provider as well as No.1 domain registration company.

A study conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University also cited that in 2007, 84 percent of web sites that sell medications did not ask for a valid prescription, further support of the importance of the bill.

Go Daddy’s chief executive officer and founder Bob Parsons voiced the company’s rally behind the bill in saying, “Go Daddy applauds any action to help reduce the number of rogue Internet pharmacies that are either selling controlled substances without a valid prescription, or selling illegal or counterfeit prescriptions over the Web. This legislation will give us the ability to be proactive when we are made aware of Internet pharmacy sites that do not comply with registration requirements.”

The bill, named after Ryan Haight, a teenager who overdosed on Vicodin he had purchased on the Web, is now awaiting action from the House of Representatives, according to Go Daddy.

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PHARMACY

Rite Aid posts sales increase for March

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Thursday reported a same-store sales increase of 2.6 percent (which does not yet include the Brooks/Eckerd acquired stores) for the four weeks ended March 29.

Pharmacy same-store sales increased 1 percent, which included an approximate 493 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions. Front-end same-store sales were up 5.7 percent. March same store sales were positively affected by a shift to a March Easter this year from an April Easter last year (March 23 this year as compared to April 8 last year).

Total drug store sales for the four-week period increased 50.7 percent to $2 billion. Prescription revenue accounted for 67.6 percent of drugstore sales, and third party prescription revenue represented 96.2 percent of pharmacy sales.

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FDA grants orphan designation for MELAS syndrome drug

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON Sirtris Pharmaceuticals has been granted orphan drug designation for resveratrol by the Food and Drug Administration, according to published reports.

Resveratrol is a drug used to treat MELAS syndrome, a progressive fatal aging disease that produces symptoms of muscle weakness, fatigue, recurrent headaches and seizures. The government’s grant is usually offered in cases in which companies are discovering treatments for rare drugs, and the grant would allow the company to speed up their testing period.

Sitris has decided to focus on the SIRT1 gene, which is a gene tied to the aging process. SIRT1 is being studied as a possible source in treating MELAS or type 2 diabetes. According to published reports, the grant has resulted in Sitris being offered seven years of marketing exclusivity for its formulation of resveratrol.

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