PHARMACY

Report: Tamiflu prices vary across states

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Children that need a dose of liquid Tamiflu to combat H1N1 may have to cough up more cash — depending on where they live, USA Today reported.

The out-of-pocket price to fill the same liquid Tamiflu prescription can range from $43 to $130, according to USA Today‘s phone survey of more than 100 pharmacies in six states.

USA Today also added that the following prices were provided to the newspaper based on their phone survey:

  • California: $55-$130
  • Colorado: $65-$120
  • Kansas: $49-$99
  • Louisiana: $43-$110
  • Michigan: $49-$94
  • Pennsylvania: $49-$94

“We’re very concerned because there is a shortage, and exploiting a shortage is unconscionable,” said Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal, who is investigating after finding similar price variations in his state.

 

A CVS/pharmacy representative told the paper that one cause of the price disparity may be due to the cost and dosage of Tamiflu capsules a pharmacy stocks.

In late September, such drug store chains as Walgreens kicked off flu prevention initiatives and announced they would compound Tamiflu in response to the current supply shortage of the prescription flu treatment. The Food and Drug Administration has established an approved method for compounding Tamiflu, creating a liquid mixture that ensures the most effective and proper dosing.

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PHARMACY

FDA approves fifth H1N1 vaccine

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday announced that it has approved a fifth vaccine for protection against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, this one manufactured by ID Biomedical of Quebec, Canada, which is owned by GlaxoSmithKline.

As with the four previous H1N1 influenza vaccines licensed by the FDA on Sept. 15, ID Biomedical Corp. will manufacture its H1N1 vaccine using the established, licensed egg-based manufacturing process used for producing seasonal flu vaccine.

ID Biomedical’s H1N1 monovalent vaccine will be produced in multidose vials, in a formulation that contains thimerosal.

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PCMA responds to drug price increase

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON An article in The New York Times reporting that drug companies have dramatically increased the prices of drugs despite a decrease in the Consumer Price Index has prompted calls for biosimilars reform from an organization representing the nation’s pharmacy benefit managers.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association said that policy-makers should focus on creating a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars instead of “shell games” to lower prescription drug costs. “Increased choice and competition generated by pharmacy benefit managers has been pivotal in driving prescription-drug trend to historic lows, while expanding consumers’ access to drug and pharmacy choices,” a statement by PCMA read.

The Times reported Sunday that while drug companies have promised to lower overall drug prices by $8 billion, wholesale prices of branded drugs increased by 9%, while the Consumer Price Index decreased by 1.3%.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America criticized the article Monday, saying that drug companies determined drug prices independently based on such considerations as patent expirations and research and development costs, and that many PhRMA member companies had experienced flat or negative sales growth.

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