PHARMACY

Retailers, healthcare companies eager to sign up with Google Health

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Retailers and companies around the country are lining up to work with Google Health, a service the Internet company launched Monday that allows patients to store, access and manage health information and medical records online.

“We’re thrilled that healthcare providers and online health services want to integrate with Google Health,” a Google representative told Drug Store News. “We’re looking forward to integrating with everyone.”

Walgreens, Drug Store News reported Monday, will allow patients to access prescription information and share it with multiple healthcare professionals, as will Longs Drugs, which has also made a similar announcement.

The company is hoping the new service combined with the ability of patients to already store their pharmacy information on its Web site will allow patients to better provide multiple health care professionals with medical information by linking its Web site with Google Health.

Not to be outdone, though, CVS Caremark also teamed up with Google. By integrating on the Google Health platform, patients who receive treatment at MinuteClinic can import their visit summaries into their Google Health Accounts.

HealthGrades, a large healthcare ratings company based in Golden, Colo., will make its information on cost and quality of doctors and hospitals available. Salt Lake City-based MediConnect Global, which retrieves stores and scans medical records, will allow users to access their records through the service. Online medical record system NoMoreClipboard.com, based in Fort Wayne, Ind., will help users deliver medical records to physicians who are treating them but lack Internet connectivity.

Google offers the service free to users and partners, and any developer can create health-service applications. The company plans to add new features based on future feedback.

“This is the first version of Google Health, and it’s only the beginning,” the representative said. “Health care today faces many challenges, and many people have been working to address these challenges for some time.”

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PHARMACY

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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