HEALTH

P&G kicks off third annual Give Hope program for breast cancer

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble, in partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, once again will raise awareness and educate women about the importance of early detection in helping increase women’s chances of breast cancer survival.

To expand the  P&G-NBCF Give Hope program, P&G is offering two special editions of its BrandSaver coupon booklets to consumers. For every BrandSaver coupon redeemed from the booklets, a two-cent donation will be made to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The Give Hope BrandSaver coupons will be distributed in newspapers on Sept. 26 and Oct. 10. Additionally, P&G also will introduce special limited-edition pink products in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

 

Such brands as Venus, Swiffer, Tide, Downy and Olay will be included in the money-saving coupon booklets, P&G said.

 

In related news, P&G and NBCF will team up with "Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba for the second year in a row to continue helping spread the word about this program and the importance of early detection.

 

"I’ve seen the importance of early detection first hand when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She was lucky to have caught it early, and her cancer is in remission," Inaba said. "I hope other women will hear my story and learn more about early detection and its importance."

 

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Pittsburgh Business Group on Health’s LivingMyLife program to expand

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Business Group on Health’s LivingMyLife program, which helps diabetes patients with disease management through the use of “coach pharmacists,” will soon do the same for those with other diseases, according to published reports.

 

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday that LivingMyLife also would help patients with asthma and heart disease. The program, which began in 2006, allows patients to manage their disease with visits to pharmacies, mostly Giant Eagle, Kmart and some independents.

 

 

The announcement was made at the annual healthcare symposium of the group and involved more than 100 attendees, the newspaper reported.

 

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Appeals court upholds decision to OK ‘pay-for-delay’ deals

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The federal government got a kick in the face Thursday as an appeals court ruled in favor of patent litigation settlements between branded and generic drug companies.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York decided not to reconsider a ruling it made earlier this year in the case of Arkansas Carpenters Health and Welfare Fund vs. Bayer AG. The case concerned the legality of a settlement between Bayer and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries subsidiary Barr Labs over the anthrax treatment Cipro (ciprofloxacin), but the court ruled that the deal between the two companies did not violate antitrust laws.

 

The appeals court’s decision is a major setback for the efforts of the Federal Trade Commission and members of Congress who have sought to ban such settlements.

 

 

In most cases, a generic drug company that wishes to market its version of a drug before the branded drug company’s patents expire will file an approval application with the Food and Drug Administration with a paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the patents covering the branded drug are invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed by the generic drug. In response, the branded drug company usually will sue, but cases frequently result in settlements whereby the generic drug company agrees to hold off launching its drug in exchange for payment of some sort by the branded drug company.

 

 

This often comes in the form of an agreement not to use an authorized generic, essentially the branded drug marketed under its generic name, to compete with the generic drug company during its customary six-month market exclusivity period. Legally, the generic company must launch before the patents expire or as soon as they do, and delaying launch after patent expiry would be illegal, though critics such as the FTC and The New York Times’ editorial board have often derided the settlements as “pay-for-delay” deals, with the FTC contending that they cost consumers billions of dollars a year. Nevertheless, most cases that are settled result in launch of the generic drug ahead of patent expiry. In the case of Bayer and Barr, Bayer paid Barr $400 million to hold off launching its version of Cipro.

 

 

“Patents, issued by the government, are given the presumption of validity,” read a statement from the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, the generic drug industry’s main lobby. “Any market entry of a generic drug before the brand patent expires –– whether as the result of a finding that the generic product does not infringe the patent, that the patent is not enforceable or through a patent settlement agreement with the brand company –– is a positive, cost-saving event for consumers.”

 

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