PHARMACY

Novartis report says patients now have more access to branded, generic Rx

BY Alaric DeArment

EAST HANOVER, N.J. Patients have increased access to branded and generic prescription drugs in retail pharmacies under the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit program, according to a new report by drug maker Novartis.

The report, the “2008/2009 Novartis Pharmacy Benefit Report: Facts, Figures, and Forecasts,” gathered data by surveying managed care organizations and other sources, indicating that the country?s managed care organizations processed 3.2 billion prescriptions in retail pharmacies in 2007. As a result, the organizations now cover almost 83 percent of all prescriptions dispensed at retail pharmacies, compared to 64.8 percent 10 years ago.

The report, the 16th annual edition, gathered data supplied by managed care organizations for 2007. Content and data in the report came from healthcare research company Emron, which used data from a national database of 40,172 retail pharmacies.

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PHARMACY

Liquidia partners with Abbott on genetic disease treatment research

BY Alaric DeArment

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. A pharmaceutical company and a nanotechnology company will collaborate to develop particles to deliver short interfering RNA particle therapeutics.

Liquidia Technologies and Abbott announced the collaboration Wednesday, in which they will use Liquidia’s PRINT technology to fabricate nanoparticles of precise shape, size and chemistry to shut off genes associated with certain diseases.

“Delivery has been the most significant hurdle to realizing the broad potential of siRNA therapeutics,” Liquidia CEO Neal Fowler said in a statement. “We are very pleased to form a partnership with Abbott, which we hope will enable significant progress in addressing this problem.”

Under the agreement, Liquidia will provide Abbott with certain rights to PRINT technology for developing and commercializing siRNA therapeutics. The two companies did not disclose financial terms.

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PhRMA, health organizations release video ad pushing healthcare reform

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Six organizations representing a broad portion of the U.S. healthcare industry unveiled an advertisement Thursday to promote healthcare reform as a top priority for the incoming Obama Administration and the next Congress.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Regence BlueCross BlueShield, the American Medical Association, the Service Employees International Union, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Families USA showed the 30-second ad at a press conference at the American Medical Association’s headquarters in Washington Thursday.

The ad focuses on the country’s manufacturing industries, opening with shots of decrepit factories and cobwebbed equipment, followed by shots of working factories with employees. It opens with the line, “At a time when American businesses are hurting, why should we worry about fixing health care? Because quality, affordable health care can save money and make businesses more competitive.”

The organizations plant to run the ad until Feb. 5, possibly later.

“Expanding access to quality and affordable health insurance is good for patients and good for our economy,” PhRMA president and CEO Billy Tauzin said in a statement released with the ad. “Improved access means we can do more to promote prevention and more to detect and treat conditions at an early stage, when we can do the most to avoid poor health outcomes and costly complications of chronic diseases, which account for seven out of every 10 deaths in America.”

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