PHARMACY

Report gives U.S. low healthcare marks

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON According to a new report from the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. fails on most measures of health care quality including waiting times to see doctors and lack of preventive care, as reported by Reuters.

The Commonwealth Fund created a 100-point scorecard using 37 indicators such as health outcomes, quality, access and efficiency. It compared the United States’ average on these to the best performing states, counties or hospitals, and to other countries. The United States scored 65—two points lower than in 2006.

Some of the figures that led to the ranking were:

• While 98 percent of doctors in the Netherlands and 89 percent in Britain use electronic medical records, only 28 percent do in the United States.• Some 47 million Americans have no health insurance.• Another 28 million are underinsured.

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ViroPharma to purchase Lev in $600 million-plus deal

BY Drew Buono

EXTON, Pa. ViroPharma will buy biotech company Lev Pharmaceutical, in a deal worth up to $617.5 million in cash and stock, according to published reports. ViroPharma will pay $442.9 million upfront and may pay an additional $174.6 million if Lev’s drug candidate Cinryze meets certain milestones.

In a conference call, ViroPharma chief executive officer Vincent Milano said peak sales of Cinryze could reach at least $250 million to $300 million per year if the drug is approved both as a preventive treatment and a treatment for acute cases.

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing Cinryze as a preventive treatment for hereditary angioedema, which cause severe swelling, and a panel has recommended the drug be approved.

ViroPharma said about 10,000 people have the disease in the U.S., but only 4,600 have been diagnosed. This has led the FDA to grant Cinryze orphan drug status, which is given to medications that treat illnesses that affect less than 200,000 people in the U.S.

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Stomach infection may help prevent asthma

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON One of the biggest causes of ulcers and stomach cancer might also have potential to help people, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Infections Diseases.

The researchers who conducted the study said Tuesday that Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which have recently been shown to cause the stomach illnesses, could prevent asthma in children.

The study examined data on 7,000 children from the National Health and Nutrition Survey and found that children aged 3 to 13 were 59 percent less likely to develop asthma if they had H. pylori, which infected 5.4 percent of children born in the 1990s.

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