PHARMACY

New report predicts growth in pharmacy technician employment

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON A new report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated employment for pharmacy technicians will grow much faster than for the average occupation — up to a 32% increase by 2016.

Certified pharmacy technicians are an integral part of the pharmacy team and are relied upon to deliver vital services from assisting with the medication dispensing process, to making IV sterile products, to working in a pharmacist-run specialty clinic.

Such nation certification programs as The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board have developed a program that is endorsed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the American Pharmacists Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, for those who seek a career in this field.

“PTCB certification shows a commitment to excellence on the part of the Certified Pharmacy Technician and the employers who require PTCB certification,” said Melissa Murer Corrigan, RPh, executive director and CEO of PTCB. “We applaud the efforts of CPhTs who are dedicated to being trained, tested and trusted.”

In line with the certification is the ExCPT exam, which also confers national certification for pharmacy technicians interested in receiving the CPht credential. The ExCPT exam is offered on-demand in over 550 locations throughout the United States. It is an option endorsed by the NACDS and NCPA, that is also accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. More information on the ExCPT can be found at www.nationaltechexam.org.

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Valeant to acquire Laboratoire Dr. Renaud

BY Alaric DeArment

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. U.S. drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International will acquire a Canadian cosmeceutical company, Valeant announced Monday.

Valeant Canada will purchase Laval, Quebec-based Laboratoire Dr. Renaud for C$21.8 million, leasing a 45,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing plant for topical products. Dr. Renaud has annual sales of $10.4 million, and the acquisition is expected to be completed in 2010.

“This acquisition is part of our continued efforts to build a leading dermatology business by adding respected brand names in our select regions,” Valeant chairman and CEO J. Michael Pearson stated. “Laboratoire Dr. Renaud enjoys a high degree of loyalty from esthetic clinics and spas, and we believe that Valeant will gain immediate entree into the cosmeceutical market in Canada. With exclusive access to a world class topical manufacturing plant and a successful sales and marketing infrastructure, we also have the ability to launch select U.S. dermatology products into Canada and further expand our reach in dermatology.”

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FDA warns GSK’s HIV drug may increase risk of heart attack

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration and GlaxoSmithKline have warned healthcare professionals of the risk of heart attack and buildup of cholesterol in patients taking a drug used to treat HIV.

The FDA released an alert Thursday announcing that it had modified the prescription information for the drug Lexiva (fosamprenavir calcium) to note that some patients taking the drug have experienced increases in cholesterol, a condition known as dyslipidemia, and recommend that patients undergo cholesterol and triglyceride testing before and during therapy with the drug.

In other news, the agency warned of possible birth defects among babies born to women who take the epilepsy drug valproate sodium and related drugs during pregnancy, including defects of the head and face and circulatory systems. Valproate sodium and related drugs are mostly available as generics, and Abbott Labs markets them under brand names such as Depacon (valproate sodium injection) and Depakote (divalproex sodium tablets).

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