PHARMACY

With safety concerns, NACDS opposes personal importation proposal

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has issued a response to an amendment that would allow the personal importation of prescription drugs.

Carol A. Kelly, SVP government affairs and public policy, issued a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, expressing opposition to an amendment to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010.

The letter was also sent to each member of the Senate.

“NACDS shares the goal of reducing the cost of prescription drugs,” Kelly wrote. “However, we do not believe that consumer safety can be ensured in any system that allows for the personal importation of prescription medications. In addition to questions concerning the safety and effectiveness of the drugs, individuals who obtain prescription medications through a personal importation scheme do not have a licensed pharmacist available to consult with them about using the medications safely and effectively.”

Kelly added that generic utilization is the best way to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and that the organization supports Congress’ efforts to reform the U.S. healthcare system.

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GSK: Rheumatoid arthritis treatment meets trial goals

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON A late-stage clinical trial of a biotech drug for rheumatoid arthritis has met its goals, the drug’s developers announced Wednesday.

British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline and Danish drug maker Genmab announced that patients in a phase 3 trial taking ofatumumab experienced a 20% improvement in the number of swollen and tender joints, as the companies expected.

In the 260-patient study, the 129 patients taking ofatumumab had a 50% response rate, compared to 27% of those taking placebo. The companies also said there were no unexpected safety problems, but 5% of patients experienced rash, hives, throat irritation and other side effects.

“We have always believed in ofatumumab’s potential to make a difference in patients’ lives,” Genmab CEO Lisa Drakeman said in a statement. “We are pleased with the results of this study, supporting the further investigation of this antibody’s promise in the treatment of RA.”

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Medarex reports narrowed loss, nearly doubled revenue for Q2

BY Anna Mcgrath

PRINCETON, N.J. Biotech drug maker Medarex reported a less severe drop in second-quarter loss, while its revenue almost doubled from last year.

The Princeton, N.J.-based Medarex reported losses of $29.2 million compared with a loss of $53.1 million in the same quarter last year.

This year’s revenue was up 96% from last year’s $10 million to $19.5 million.

New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb, the maker of blood thinner Plavix, put forth $2.1 billion to acquire Medarex.

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