PHARMACY

New international non-profit launches adverse medication program

BY Allison Cerra

The International Serious Adverse Events Consortium (SAEC) will be launching a program that can determine if an individual is at risk for harmful drug-related occurrences, the corporation said on Thursday.

The nonprofit corporation will use gene technology to identify markers that may help foresee if a person responds to medication adversely, and to develop alternatives for medications that may be harmful to patients. SAEC said in a release that its “work is based on the hypothesis that these differences have a genetic basis.”

“Developing new scientific approaches to detect, understand, predict and prevent serious drug-related adverse events is at the heart of FDA’s ambitious plans to strengthen our drug safety system,” said Janet Woodcock, FDA deputy commissioner and chief medical officer. “We are encouraged that this new consortium will play an important role in enhancing drug safety by accelerating and advancing our understanding of genetic variants associated with these adverse events.”

SAEC also said that the two studies would address drug-related liver toxicity and a rare drug-related skin condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

“Given the considerable time, size and cost of conducting safety studies, a coordinated, strategic partnership between industry, academia, and government can more rapidly advance this critical science,” Woodcock added.

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Vector One finds antidepressant scripts for teens fell in last four years

BY Drew Buono

YARDLEY, Pa. Total prescriptions of antidepressant drugs for teenagers age 13 to 17 decreased nearly 18 percent between July 2003 and July 2007, according to Verispan’s Vector One.

On the other hand, antidepressant prescriptions for patients 18 and older have grown about 13 percent during the same four-year period.

Verispan’s Physician Drug & Diagnosis Audit reports that visits by teenagers to physicians for depression decreased 23 percent in the past four years. Visits by teenage males dropped by 5 percent more than females. The percentage of teenage visits to doctors for depression where a prescription was issued dropped from 85 percent in the 12 months ending July 2004 to 69 percent in the 12 months ending July 2007.

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NFID and CDC to spend $5 million on flu information

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control will spend about $5 million combined to spread the word about obtaining a flu vaccination, according to PRWeek. There will be about 132 million doses of the vaccine for this flu season and these two organizations want to make sure they do not go to waste.

Both realize that the money they’re spending is not a lot, but they hope it’s a start to help prolong the season of vaccinations by months compared to previous years. Previously, the season for vaccinations essentially ended with the Thanksgiving holiday, explained Len Novick, executive director of the NFID. But with the addition of the week’s events, both groups are hoping to better spread awareness efforts deeper into the year and help keep the issue relevant through the New Year. Also, the goal is to spread the word to people who usually do not receive a flu vaccination. This is aimed at hopefully controlling the spread of the virus.

The CDC also plans on working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The NFID plans on working with the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as the American Association of Retired Persons.

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