PHARMACY

PTCB announces 300,000 certified pharmacy techs

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board recently announced that over 300,000 pharmacy technicians have been certified by completing the national Pharmacy Technician Certification examination or transfer process since the program began in 1995.

“Certifying pharmacy technicians is critical to patient safety. We know that in a recent survey of American consumers, 91 percent support strong regulations across the country to protect patient safety by requiring that pharmacy technicians be trained and certified,” said Melissa Murer Corrigan, executive director and chief executive officer of PTCB. “With more than 300,000 trained and tested PTCB certified pharmacy technicians and new regulations for pharmacy technicians in states such as Florida, significant progress is being made to meet this expectation.”

“Pharmacists need the support of their techs, and the confidence that the technicians are trained and tested. Walgreens was the first to get behind certification, and close to 65 percent of our techs are PTCB certified,” said Mark Wagner, executive vice president of store operations at Walgreens. “The 300,000 milestone is important as qualified pharmacy technicians are essential to a pharmacy’s smooth operations.”

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Santen completes Phase III testing of eye drug

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Inspire Pharmaceuticals announced Friday a $1.25 million milestone payment from Japan-based company Santen Pharmaceutical for the completion of Phase III testing of the eye drug diquafosol tetrasodium, also known as DE-089. The two companies have a collaborative agreement to develop the drug.

DE-089 is designed to treat such eye-surface diseases as dry eye. Santen expects to file for marketing approval in Japan by June, and also plans to market the drug throughout Asia. Pending approval of DE-089 by regulatory agencies, Santen will market the drug while Inspire will receive royalties on net sales.

New York-based Inspire discovers, develops and commercializes ocular and respiratory drugs. Santen specializes in ocular and anti-rheumatic drugs and had headquarters in Osaka, Japan.

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Salix receives FDA approvable letter for Balsalazide colitis treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. Salix Pharmaceuticals has received an approvable letter from the Food and Drug Administration for its ulcerative colitis drug Balsalazide Tablet NDA, the company announced May 16. The drug is designed to treat mild-to-moderate active ulcerative colitis in patients 18 years and older. The disease causes ulcers in the lining of the rectum and colon.

Salix has headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., and specializes in drugs to treat gastrointestinal disorders. The company markets such drugs as Colazal (balsalazide disodium) capsules 750 mg, Xifaxan (rifaximin) tablets 200 mg, Osmoprep (sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate, USP and sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrous, USP) tablets and Moviprep (PEG 3350, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid for oral solution.

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