S.C. Gov. vetoes cigarette tax increase
COLUMBIA, S.C. The plan to raise the cigarette tax in South Carolina was voted down in the state’s House by a vote of 57-54, according to published reports. This was about 20 votes less than what the House needed to override a veto by Gov. Mark Sanford, who vetoed the bill before the vote.
The move was to raise the tax from 7 cents per pack to 57 cents. About $159 million from this increase was to be used between Medicaid expansions and helping lower-income workers buy health insurance.
Supporters said it could have provided as many as 200,000 more South Carolinians with health care coverage, but opponents said it would have committed the state to funding programs with a declining revenue source, since the money generated was expected to decrease as more people quit smoking.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, said he would sponsor legislation next year to increase the cigarette tax, and spend the summer and fall studying the best way to use it toward health care by leveraging the private sector.
Juvaris tests flu vaccine addition
NEW YORK Burlingame, Calif.-based Juvaris BioTherapeutics is testing an adjuvant for flu vaccines.
JVRS-100, as the drug is known, is designed to augment vaccines by stimulating the immune system. Testing will involve 128 patients who will receive the drug ad an flu vaccine.
The trial will test the safety and tolerability of the drug.
Teva announces generic Wellbutrin XL and Zyrtec syrup
NORTH WALES, Pa. Teva Pharmaceuticals has announced the availability of two new generic drugs, Cetirizine hydrochloride syrup, the generic of Pfizer’s allergy medication Zyrtec syrup and Budeprion XL 150 mg, the generic of GlaxoSmithKline’s seasonal affective disorder medication Wellbutrin XL 150 mg.
Cetirizine Hydrochloride Syrup is available in a 5 mg/5 mL strength, in bottle sizes of 120 mL and 473 mL. Also, with the addition of this new strength, Teva now offers Budeprion XL tablets in 150 mg and 300 mg strengths, in bottle sizes of 30 and 500.
Zyrtec syrup has sales of $177 million in 2007 and Wellbutrin XL had sales of $992 million in 2007, according to drugs.com.