HEALTH

New report indicates times are a-changin’ for drug market

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The drug industry is undergoing a major paradigm shift. Companies that traditionally have relied on blockbuster drugs are finding that model running dry as their biggest money-makers face competition from generics that eventually will lead to a heavily commoditized market for the disease states that have been the foundation for the model, such as high cholesterol, asthma, mental illness and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

(THE NEWS: IMS Health projects growth for Rx market. For the full story, click here)

In response, many are changing their focus to high-value specialty drugs, especially biotech drugs. For drug companies, it’s just their way of adapting to survive. But it’s also driving a shift in the world of pharmacy, feeding the growth of specialty pharmacy and, in turn, changing the role of the pharmacist in health care, all the while creating opportunities for retail pharmacies to embrace specialty pharmacy as a driver of growth as the “genericization” of pharmaceuticals threatens to dampen their sales figures.

It’s a trend that’s likely to continue. Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth, Merck’s acquisition of Schering-Plough, Roche’s acquisition of the remainder of Genentech and, most recently, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s acquisition of ZymoGenetics, as well as Sanofi-Aventis’ efforts to buy Genzyme, are just the largest examples of the pharma shift under way.

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HEALTH

Joy and Eve Behar join heart disease awareness campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Bayer Consumer Care and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease on Wednesday partnered with Joy Behar, co-host of the morning program “The View,” and her daughter Eve Behar around an awareness campaign to alert women that being prepared for a possible heart attack can help save their lives.

Preparedness includes recognizing the sometimes-subtle warning signs and keeping aspirin on hand to help reduce damage to the heart. To that end, the Behars, the Bayer aspirin brand and WomenHeart will be offering a special-edition pill tote with a convenient key ring that makes it easy to always have aspirin on hand.

“I’ve experienced firsthand the devastating impact that heart disease can have on a family when left unchecked, and I’ve learned that, when a heart attack strikes, your first line of defense is having an aspirin on hand to help reduce damage to the heart,” Joy Behar said. “This is especially important for women, who are less likely than men to survive [a heart attack] and are more likely to have a second attack. Being prepared can offer women and their families that second chance to embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle.”

Individuals can obtain a pill tote by visiting IAmProHeart.com and making a $5 donation to WomenHeart. For each donation, Bayer will make a matching donation of $5 to WomenHeart, up to a maximum of $100,000. These donations will help fund educational programming and outreach that enable women with heart disease to share their experiences, lessons learned and personal stories of courage and survival with other women who have or are at risk for developing heart disease.

“It’s so important for women to know their risk for heart disease, and to talk to their doctor about ways to be better prepared and better their odds of surviving should a heart attack strike without warning,” stated Karol Watson, chair of the WomenHeart scientific advisory council and co-director of the program in preventative cardiology at UCLA.

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CADCA, CHPA kick off annual National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Wednesday joined forces to kick off their annual National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month to raise awareness of the dangers of youth prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse.

This initiative, annually held in October, features a coordinated and concentrated effort to educate parents and youth of the potential dangers associated with prescription and OTC medicine abuse.

According to the 2009 Monitoring the Future Survey, considered the preeminent national study on teen substance abuse, 5% of teens have abused OTC cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high over the past year. When used correctly, DXM-containing medicines have a 50-year history of being safe and effective. But when abused in extreme excess, dextromethorphan can produce dangerous side effects, especially when combined with alcohol, illicit drugs or certain prescription drugs.

 

“While prescription and over-the-counter medicines are safe and necessary for many people, too many teens are abusing these drugs to get high,” stated Gen. Arthur Dean, CADCA chairman and CEO. “We hope that our efforts during National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month will raise awareness of the numbers of young people who currently abuse medicines, and spur a dialogue about prevention in communities across the country.”

 

 

“We know from 35 years of drug abuse prevention research that teen cough medicine abuse can be best addressed through education, and we are using the month of October to provide additional resources to communities interested in raising awareness among parents and teens about the dangers of cough medicine abuse,” added CHPA president Linda Suydam. “In addition, the leading makers of OTC cough medicines and our partners in prevention also support legislative initiatives to give parents further tools to address this type of abuse. These initiatives include a federal ban on sales of OTC cough medicines to teens under the age of 18 and a federal restriction against the sale of the raw, unfinished form of dextromethorphan to anyone other than an entity registered by the Food and Drug Administration.”

 

 

National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month coincides with the beginning of the school year and offers a platform for communities nationwide to become involved, as well as free and downloadable educational materials. As a part of this effort, community antidrug coalitions in nearly 40 locations throughout the country will be hosting town hall meetings in their communities throughout the month of October. These coalitions have access to the online toolkit — A Dose of Prevention: Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse Before It Starts — created by the CHPA and the CADCA. 

 

In addition, the CADCA has developed a toolkit to help substance abuse prevention leaders reduce prescription drug abuse, entitled "Rx Abuse Prevention Toolkit: From Awareness to Action." To view the materials or to learn more about all of CADCA and CHPA’s activities to help curb prescription and OTC cough medicine abuse, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org.

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