PHARMACY

New Senate move to allow importation draws condemnation of retail pharmacy

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A proposal in Congress to allow Americans to personally import prescription drugs is drawing strong opposition from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

NACDS and many of its member companies have condemned the plan, contained in a bill moving through the Senate. The legislation, known as the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2009, or S. 1232, would permit the personal and commercial importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other nations outside the purview of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It also mandates what NACDS terms as “costly, unproven track-and-trace requirements on the pharmacy community, and “treats legitimate brick and mortar pharmacies the same as illegitimate Internet drug sellers,” the group asserts.

To air the pharmacy industry’s concerns, NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson today sent a letter to Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “NACDS shares the goal of reducing the cost of prescription drugs,” Anderson wrote. “However, we do not believe that consumer safety can be ensured in any system that allows for the personal importation of prescription medications.

“In addition to numerous concerns about the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs, individuals who obtain prescription medications through a personal importation scheme are less likely to benefit from the professional services and advice of their local licensed pharmacists,” added NACDS’ top executive.

NACDS members and pharmacy advocates also sent more than 1,000 letters to Capitol Hill in the last week through the association’s grassroots program, RxIMPACT, according to the group. The letters express opposition to personal drug importation so as not to compromise patient safety in an effort to lower prescription drug prices.

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GSK drug approved for kidney cancer treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug from GlaxoSmithKline to treat advanced kidney cancer.

The FDA announced the approval of Votrient (pazopanib) treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma designed to be taken once a day. The approval is based on phase-3 trial data showing that the drug reduced the risk of tumor progression or cancer-related death by 54% compared to placebo.

 

“RCC is the most common malignancy of the kidney and is highly resistant to chemotherapy,” GSK Oncology R&D Unit SVP Paolo Paoletti said in a statement. “While treatment has improved in the past few years with the introduction of targeted therapies, advanced RCC remains a challenging disease.”

 

RCC affects more than 57,000 people and kills 13,000 in the United States every year.

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Washington pharmacists can prescribe antiviral drugs, if flu pandemic hits

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE Should a major outbreak of pandemic flu hit Washington state, pharmacists there will be able to prescribe antiviral drugs, under an agreement between pharmacy groups and state health officials.

According to the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, or NWCPHP, an organization in the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, a team from NWCPHP, the Washington State Pharmacy Association and other groups developed a template collaborative drug therapy agreement for the medications under contract with the Washington State Department of Health, supported by money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new protocol is intended to go into effect when local health officers authorize it.

Information about the protocol for pharmacists is available at www.nwcphp.org/centers-projects/cdta.

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