PHARMACY

PDL to sell rights to drugs, cut related jobs

BY Drew Buono

FREMONT, Calif. PDL BioPharma will sell the rights to four of its drugs and cut at least 250 jobs as the company moves it focus away from cardiovascular drugs to oncology and select immunological diseases.

The four drugs to be sold are Cardene, Ularitide, Retavase and IV Busulfex. The drugs produced $187.2 in revenue in the year ending June 30. The 250 jobs would be eliminated as a result of selling the drugs, but more job cuts could be expected as the company shifts its focus to diseases like multiple sclerosis.

The company has been under fire recently by its shareholders for keeping Mark McDade as chief executive officer even though he moved the company to a more expensive location and for being in charge while the company missed earnings and sales projections.

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BlueCross/BlueShield of Oregon introduces new generics program

BY Drew Buono

PORTLAND, Ore. Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon has introduced a new program called Generics First Antidepressant Program, to help battle rising healthcare costs.

The program encourages the use of high-quality antidepressant generic medications. Since the company believes generics can meet the needs of most patients, brand-name drugs will require a prior authorization beginning in September. This though, does not necessarily mean that people already on brand-name medications will need a prior authorization.

Prices could result as follows, a 30-day supply of a generic could be $30 compared to a brand-name drug, which could cost $83. “These generics are a good value for members and are available without prior authorization,” said David Clark, vice president of Medical Services and Pharmacy for Regence.

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AmerisourceBergen opens Orlando DC after deal with FDA

BY Adam Kraemer

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. AmerisourceBergen Corp. announced that on August 25, 2007 the Drug Enforcement Administration reinstated AmerisourceBergen’s license for its Orlando Distribution Center to distribute controlled substances. The distribution center immediately resumed shipment of controlled substances to its customers.

The license was suspended in April 2007 because the DEA alleged that the distribution center had not maintained effective controls against diversion of controlled substances by retail Internet pharmacies. During the suspension, the company was able to provide the products to its customers from another distribution center.

Due to the suspension, AmerisourceBergen implemented an enhanced and more sophisticated order-monitoring program in all of its distribution centers starting July 1, 2007, The company has since passed several DEA inspections of the new program. AmerisourceBergen said that it expects the new order monitoring program to quickly become the industry standard, as it requires more rapid identification and daily reporting of orders that may indicate diversion of controlled substances, and, in some instances, may even require halting a shipment of orders to further investigate. The monitoring program also requires a more rigorous examination process before the delivery of controlled substances to newly signed customers.

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