PHARMACY

Senate to vote on drug importation measure

BY Anna Mcgrath

WASHINGTON U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., has dropped his proposal to add the importation of cheaper medicines from other countries to a tobacco legislation.

Dorgan claims that under the amendment, the Food and Drug Administration would be given the power to oversee packaging, marketing and manufacturing of cigarettes and other tobacco products, Reuters reported. Additionally, U.S.-licensed pharmacies and drug wholesalers would also be allowed to import FDA-approved medicines from Canada, Europe and a few other areas for cheaper prices.

The Senate will consider the drug issue separately, Reuters said.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $5 million for the FDA to get started. Despite presidental backing, drugmakers are unhappy with Dorgan’s bill, claiming that with importation comes the risk for counterfeit drugs.

The tobacco bill passed the Senate on Monday with a 61-30 vote and proceeds to legislation later this week.

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Aurora Health Care to honor cancer survivors

BY Alaric DeArment

MILWAUKEE With more people diagnosed with cancer every year but more of them surviving, a nonprofit healthcare system in eastern Wisconsin plans to honor cancer survivors.

Aurora Health Care, which runs the Aurora Pharmacy chain as well as a network of hospitals and clinics, announced Tuesday that it would mark National Cancer Survivors Day on Saturday with several events in three Wisconsin cities.

“There has been great progress in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment that has resulted in ever-increasing numbers of survivors,” Aurora Health Care VP cancer services Joseph Mirro said. “Now that more patients are being cured of their cancer and living longer, there’s a growing number of survivors with unique needs.”

Events will include a walk and run for cancer in Milwaukee, a gathering in Sheboygan and booths offering cancer screenings and information in Oshkosh.

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FDA gives tentative approval to generic breast cancer treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic drug for treating breast cancer.

The drug, Roxane Labs’ letrozole tablets in the 2.5 mg strength, is a generic version of Novartis’ Femara.

Femara had global sales of $1.13 billion in 2008, according to Novartis financial data. Novartis’ patent on the drug will expire in 2011, according to the FDA’s Orange Book.

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