PHARMACY

Sandoz releases generic version of Astrazeneca’s Prilosec

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. Sandoz announced Thursday the introduction of a generic version of a popular proton-pump inhibitor for treating gastro-esophageal reflux disease.

The Switzerland-based Novartis generics subsidiary has begun selling omeprazole capsules in the 40 mg strength, adding to the 20 mg capsules it already markets. The drug is a generic version of Astrazeneca’s Prilosec.

Sales of 40 mg omeprazole were about $225 million for the 12 months ending in November, according to IMS Health data. Prilosec is also available in an OTC formulation.

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Teva launches campaign for affordable health care

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The world’s largest maker of generic drugs announced Tuesday the launch of a nationwide campaign to push for more affordable health care.

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA said that the Year of Affordable Healthcare campaign was meant to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, which created the regulatory pathway for the generic drug industry.

“With a new administration and Congress, and so many Americans concerned by the economy, this is the right time for federal action to increase access to health care through smart policy,” said Teva North America president and CEO William Marth in a statement. “As a leader in the generics industry, Teva will highlight the fact that reducing the cost of health care does not mean reducing the quality of health care.”

The campaign includes regional forums to gauge voters’ priorities for healthcare reform, new media initiatives to engage consumers, polls conducted throughout the year on Americans’ opinions about health care and outreach to healthcare leaders.

The campaign coincides with a poll of doctors by Epocrates showing that increasing numbers of Americans are skipping doses of medications in order to save money.

The campaign’s Web site is www.yearofaffordablehealth.com.

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New FDA rules could keep doctors from prescribing certain narcotics

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK As part of the growing constraints that the Food and Drug Administration is putting on prescription drugs, the agency might soon stop some doctors from prescribing narcotic painkillers, according to published reports.

New FDA rules could prevent doctors without special training from prescribing medicines listed as Schedule II narcotics, including oxycodone, methadone and fentanyl. 

Narcotic medications have been blamed for numerous patient overdoses and deaths and are a target for diversion by criminals.

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