PHARMACY

Report: Canada-based pharmacies rally against proposed reimbursement cuts

BY Alaric DeArment

TORONTO A ban on “professional allowances” to pharmacists and cuts to reimbursements for generic drugs proposed in the Canadian province of Ontario have retail pharmacies there up in arms, according to published reports.

Canwest News Service reported Monday that pharmacists in the province have hit back in an ad campaign against proposed cuts to the cost of generic drugs and a ban on allowances that generic drug companies give to pharmacists in exchange for stocking their drugs.

The Ontario Pharmacists’ Association, the Independent Pharmacists of Ontario, the Ontario Chain Drug Association and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores have launched a Web site, www.stopcuts.ca, against the proposed cuts.

Shoppers Drug Mart said it would shorten its hours of operation and charge customers for delivery rates, Canwest reported.

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FDA approves Toprol XL generic

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of a drug for treating heart disease made by Watson Pharmaceuticals, Watson announced Thursday.

The FDA approved Watson’s metoprolol succinate extended-release tablets in the 100-mg and 200-mg strengths. The drug is used to treat angina, heart failure and hypertension.

The tablets are a generic version of AstraZeneca’s Toprol XL, which had sales of $403 million during the 12-month period ended in February, according to IMS Health.

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NCPA, partners launch Dispose My Meds campaign

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A group representing the nation’s independent pharmacists will be kicking off a campaign with Sharps Compliance and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America to address ways consumers can safely dispose prescription medications.

The National Community Pharmacists Association said the Dispose My Meds campaign, an official Earth Day activity, will provide consumers with unprecedented options to safely and responsibly dispose of unused medications at hundreds of participating community pharmacies nationwide.

More than four billion prescriptions are written annually in the United States, according to estimates, and up to 40% of drugs dispensed outside of hospitals go unused, generating some 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste each year, NCPA said. Additionally, NCPA said, unused patient medications are a contributor to traces of pharmaceuticals being found in America’s drinking water and accidental poisonings, which have involved an 80% increase in U.S. deaths from accidental overdose of narcotics in a recent six-year period.

NCPA president Joe Harmison, in addition to Claude Dance, Sharps Compliance SVP sales and marketing, and Mark Elizabeth Elliott, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America VP communications, membership and IT, will host a conference call April 19 to discuss the initiative. For more information or to RSVP, please contact John Norton, NCPA, at 703-600-1174 or john.norton@ncpanet.org.

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