PHARMACY

PhRMA’s new code bans members from giving small gifts

BY Alaric DeArment

The Pharmaceutical research and Manufacturers of America has banned member companies from giving physicians meals, pens, mugs and other small gifts under an updated version of PhRMA’s code that governs interactions between drug makers and health-care professionals.

The new code will take effect next January. Companies in compliance will be listed on PhRMA’s Web site and will have to certify their compliance every year. Educational items, such as anatomical models, are still acceptable, as long as they cost less than $100.

“Providing items for healthcare professionals’ use that do not advance disease or treatment education—even if they are practice-related items of minimal value—may foster misperceptions that company interactions with healthcare professionals are not based on informing them about medical and scientific issues.”

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PHARMACY

Some fruit juices can affect efficacy of drugs, study shows

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Some kinds of juices may inhibit the body’s absorption of some drugs, according to a study by Canadian researchers released Tuesday.

The study showed that grapefruit, orange and apple juices can reduce the efficacy of drugs for treating cancer, heart disease, infections and organ-transplant rejections.

The researchers enlisted healthy volunteers and gave them the antihistamine fexofenadine, as well as a glass of grapefruit juice and a glass of water with a substance that makes grapefruit juice taste bitter or plain water. Subjects who drank the juice absorbed half the amount of fexofenadine that subjects who received water did.

The results of the study were presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.

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TriCor suit granted class-action status

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A judge for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware has given class-action status to a lawsuit that several drug stores filed against Abbott Labs and Fournier Industrie et Sante, according to the legal news Web site Law360.

The drug stores allege that the companies filed frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits to prevent a generic version of the anti-cholesterol drug TriCor from reaching the market.

The District of Columbia and 18 states filed a similar lawsuit, alleging that Abbott’s and Fournier’s actions forced their health plans to pay higher prices for TriCor, but the judge declined to give their suits class-action status.

The chains, which include CVS Pharmacy and Louisiana Wholesale Drug, argue that the two drug companies caused them to pay unnecessarily high prices that they had to pass on to consumers.

TriCor (fenofibrate) has annual sales of more than $1 billion, according to Abbott financial data.

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