PHARMACY

Pharmaceutical coalition lobbies Fla. gov. to veto comparison study

BY Drew Buono

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The Coalition for Affordable Prescriptions, which consists of several pharmaceutical companies and organizations, is lobbying Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a proposed study that would compare the effectiveness of generics and brand-name drugs, according to published reports. The groups say that the study will be, “intentionally written to deliver a biased conclusion that will keep FDA-approved, safe, effective and affordable generic prescriptions from Florida consumers.”

The proposed study was added to the General Appropriations Act by Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, requiring the Florida Department of Health to commission a study of the Florida Pharmacy Practice Act. Bogdanoff said she added the provisional language to get more information on the potential for some generic drugs to cause negative reactions in patients suffering from serious conditions, such as organ transplant patients and epileptics. “A minor change in a drug can throw someone into an epileptic seizure if they don’t react well to that particular drug.”

The provisional language, inserted late in the legislative session, calls for the department to form a panel to conduct the study. The Board of Medicine, the Board of Pharmacy, the Florida Academy of Family Physicians, the Florida Kidney Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida will each select one member.

The coalition believes the study is meant to be seen as well intended, but really is nothing more than a “smokescreen for particular brand manufacturers looking to monopolize on an otherwise free marketplace.” The coalition also pointed out that a lot of money would be lost if patients switched from generics to brand-name drugs, about $52 million just from Medicaid.

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FDA issues third approvable letter for Wyeth’s bazedoxifene

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Wyeth Pharmaceuticals’ new drug for treating postmenopausal osteoporosis has hit another speed bump.

The Food and Drug Administration sent a third approvable letter to Wyeth for the drug bazedoxifene pending analyses about the incidence of stroke and venal thrombosis in patients who use it. The FDA made a similar request in a letter sent in December.

Merck reported that its postmenopausal osteoporosis drug Fosamax (alendronate sodium) had worldwide sales of $3.05 billion in 2007.

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Longs plans drive-through windows at Hawaiian locations

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Longs Drug Stores plans to open drive-through windows at some of its stores in Hawaii, the company announced recently.

The drugstore chain, based in Walnut Creek, Calif., will add a drive-through window to its store in Maui later this year. The new store it plans to open in Honolulu will also have a window.

Walgreens, which recently opened its first locations in Hawaii, credits itself with inventing the concept of the drugstore with a drive-through pharmacy more than 15 years ago.

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