PHARMACY

Pharmacy technicians sign up for PTCB testing

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Nearly 7,000 pharmacy technicians have applied to take a test offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board since the PTCB began offering year-round testing, the PTCB announced Monday.

The organization said that 6,800 pharmacy technicians had applied to take the new Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, now offered in a testing format that the PTCB said was designed for greater flexibility and availability, with such features as immediate pass-fail results.

“PTCB certification provides the core skills and nationally recognized credentials necessary for pharmacy technicians to deliver optimal pharmacist support and patient care,” Walgreens SVP pharmacy Kermit Crawford said. “Walgreens was the first to get behind PTCB certification and strongly supports the new continuous testing format because it creates daily access to the highest quality exam offered.”

The PTCB tested more than 50,000 pharmacy technicians last year and has certified more than 339,000 since its inception in 1995.

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Investigational oxycodone formulation may discourage drug abusers

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW ORLEANS Two drug companies may have developed a formulation of the painkiller oxycodone that discourages drug abusers.

King Pharmaceuticals and Acura Pharmaceuticals announced Friday that results from an oral abuse liability study of the drug Acurox (oxycodone hydrochloride and niacin) tablets indicate they are disliked among people with a history of opioid abuse, compared with oxycodone tablets alone when they swallow excess doses.

“The fact that people with a history of opioid abuse showed a disliking of Acurox tablets in excessive doses is an indication that the product is an important step in the development of medicines that are designed to deter common methods of abuse, such as over ingestion, while effectively managing pain,” lead study author and chief of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s Center for Chemical Dependence Donald Jasinski said.

Results of the study were presented Friday at the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Medical-Scientific Conference.

The two companies said the Food and Drug Administration had given Acurox priority review classification, and they expect to get a response from the FDA by June 30.

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Amylin issues letter to shareholders regarding board of directors

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO Drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals is urging shareholders to reject prospective members of its board nominated by investor Carl Icahn and Eastbourne Capital Management.

Amylin sent a letter to shareholders Friday, signed by president and CEO Daniel Bradbury and lead independent director James Wilson, requesting that they instead vote for the company’s current board, saying the company was “poised to revolutionize” Type 2 diabetes treatment with the once-weekly formulation of the drug Byetta (exenatide), currently awaiting approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA approved the twice-daily formulation of the drug in 2005.

“To ensure that you benefit from this value opportunity, it is imperative that Amylin has the best possible board of directors,” Bradbury and Wilson wrote in the letter.

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