PHARMACY

Sanofi-Aventis responds to studies suggesting insulin use increases cancer risk

BY Alaric DeArment

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. Recent studies indicating a possible link between an insulin analog and an increased risk of cancer have drawn a response from the insulin’s manufacturer.

Sanofi-Aventis announced Wednesday the release of a statement by a panel of 14 international experts who assessed the publication of registry analyses of Sanofi’s Lantus (insulin glargine [rDNA]) in the journal Diabetologia.

“Regarding the merits of the published data, we agreed that all four manuscripts have significant methodological limitations and shortcomings,” Oregon Health Sciences University professor of medicine Matthew Riddle said. “The nature of these limitations and their potential magnitude are such that, individually or in aggregate, these studies provide inconsistent and inconclusive results which do not justify new clinical recommendations to patients.”

Sanofi said that the European Medicines Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the American Diabetes Association and other groups had cautioned against over-interpretation of and overreaction to the data in the studies.

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Experts discuss medication adherence

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Poor adherence to medication regimens could counteract the benefits of healthcare reform, a panel of experts concluded Wednesday.

The panel — which brings together experts from GlaxoSmithKline, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, the National Consumer’s League and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America — hopes to open a dialogue about medication adherence with between experts from the health, medical, insurance, business, employer, academic and government sectors.

“To date, medication adherence hasn’t been a prominent part of the debate,” conference moderator and founding editor of the journal Health Affairs John Iglehart said in a statement. “But no matter what shape health reform takes, it will ultimately be more successful if it supports the education and motivation of patients to properly follow their medication regimens.”

Participants in the panel will receive briefings on two new research efforts on medication adherence conducted by Avalere Health and the RAND Corp., respectively, using findings from the studies to guide the creation of policy and public education recommendations.

As many as 80% of patients may not be adhering to their medication regimens, according to research, resulting in adverse consequences and draining $100 billion to $300 billion from the healthcare system every year.

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MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals develops copay program for Moxatag

BY Alaric DeArment

WESTLAKE, Texas A company making a long-acting formulation of a common antibiotic has announced a program to minimize the drug’s cost to consumers.

MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals announced Wednesday a $20 maximum copay program for Moxatag (amoxicillin) extended-release tablets in the 775 mg strength, designed to keep the drug’s cost to patients at $20 or less. The company said it will field 300 representatives and district managers to begin supplying physicians with voucher cards for the program.

“In this tough economy, we recognize the need to improve Moxatag’s affordability to the patient,” MiddleBrook president and CEO John Thievon said in a statement. “This $20 maximum copay program will replace our current $15 point-of-sale copay check program, which has been in place since Moxatag’s launch.”

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