PHARMACY

NYC calls for legislation to allow pharmacists to administer flu shots

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have called on lawmakers in Albany to pass a bill allowing pharmacists to give flu and pneumonia shots, according to published reports.

According to officials, the bill would increase the number of older residents in the city receiving the shots by at least 50,000.

The bill would allow pharmacists to immunize people 18 years and older after certifying completion of a federally approved course, which is now a routine part of pharmacists’ education. Currently, only physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants may administer vaccines in New York State.

“The more places flu shots are available, the more likely people are to get one,” said Jane Zucker, assistant health commissioner for the Bureau of Immunization. “Pharmacies are a natural place to reach those at high risk of hospitalization and death from the disease. People with diabetes and asthma regularly see their pharmacists to refill their prescriptions. If vaccinations were available at the same counter, many more would get them.”

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Possible new FDA diabetes drug guidelines could delay approvals

BY Drew Buono

SAN DIEGO A draft of new guidelines proposed by the Food and Drug Administration for developing drugs to treat diabetes may lead to a delay of the approval for a new long-acting diabetes drug from Amylin Pharmaceuticals, according to the Associated Press.

The FDA suggested increased testing for macrovascular complications, or diseases affecting large veins, particularly for drugs that are linked to problems with those veins.

That could delay approval of Amylin’s diabetes drug candidate exenatide LAR, a weekly version of its Byetta treatment and a Type 2 injectable diabetes drug, which it co-manufactures with Eli Lilly, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Matthew Osborne wrote in a note to clients Monday. He said the guidelines could make clinical trials of diabetes drugs more expensive and difficult.

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FDA approves Ranbaxy’s generic version of Risperdal

BY Drew Buono

NEW DELHI, India Ranbaxy Laboratories has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a generic version of Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ schizophrenia drug, Risperdal, according to published reports.

Risperdal is also used to treat such behavior problems as aggression and self-injury, as well as sudden mood changes in teenagers and autism in children. The company has received approval to launch the generic risperidone in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg and 4 mg strengths.

Risperdal had sales of $924 million in 2007.

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