PHARMACY

Rx importation bill advances in Senate

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON Overriding concerns from retail pharmacy groups, patient safety advocates and the pharmaceutical industry, the U.S. Senate late Thursday approved a plan to allow Americans to directly import lower-priced drugs from Canada via the Internet.

The plan, added as an amendment to a larger spending bill to fund the Customs Department and other agencies, according to a report from AP, now moves to House and Senate negotiators, who will attempt to hammer out a final version for passage in both houses of Congress.

The language allowing re-importation of drugs was crafted by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and approved 55-36, AP reported Friday.

Senate passage of Vitter’s amendment marks a rapid reversal of fortune for opponents of direct re-importation of drugs produced in the U.S. and shipped to Canada and other countries. Last week, another drug re-importation amendment – offered in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [HELP] Committee as part of broad health care reform proposals – failed to advance by a vote of 12 to 10.

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Bartell Drugs collects food for people in need

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE A regional retail pharmacy chain has collected enough food for more than 15,000 meals for people in need.

Bartell Drugs announced Thursday that its “Stock the Pantry” food drive, which it had conducted with Northwest Harvest and Fisher Communications, had collected 16,767 pounds of food through the chain’s 55 stores in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

“Year-around hunger is an unfortunate reality for many children and their families, as well as many seniors,” Bartell chairman and CEO George Bartell said. “Through the generous contributions by our customers, we’re proud to support Northwest Harvest with this effort.

The food drive was launched in May as a way to help Northwest Harvest replenish its food stocks during the summer months.

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OSI Pharmaceuticals moving to Westchester Co., N.Y.

BY Alaric DeArment

MELVILLE, N.Y. Biotech company OSI Pharmaceuticals plans to move its U.S. operations to a single campus in upstate New York, the company announced this week.

OSI announced that it had purchased a 43-acre site in Ardsley, a community in the town of Greenburgh, N.Y., and would move 350 employees from Melville and Farmingdale, N.Y., Cedar Knolls, N.J., and Boulder, Colo., to the new campus in the second half of this year.

“The past 10 years has been a remarkable journey as the company has successfully brought its first oncology product, Tarceva, to market and taken the business profitable,” OSI CEO Colin Goddard said. “Nonetheless, we have recognized that we will only truly capture the full strategic value of our oncology franchise if we simplify our business by bringing together all the elements of our U.S. operations onto a single site.”

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