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State of Union, Mo.: 2nd city makes PSE Rx-only

BY Michael Johnsen

UNION, Mo. —The city of Union earlier this month passed an ordinance requiring that pseudoephedrine products only be sold with a prescription, marking the second local Missouri municipality to impose a prescription-only ordinance on the popular decongestant ingredient.

The prescription-only requirement for pseudoephedrine products is similar to legislation passed earlier this year in Washington, Mo. After coming under heavy criticism for passing such legislation, the Washington council considered repealing the ruling. However, on Aug. 3, the council voted not to repeal.

Beyond an inconvenience to consumers in these two municipalities, the ordinances raise a greater concern: whether or not local governments have the authority to decide what is prescription-only and what isn’t. The consequence would be the creation of a Byzantine pharmaceutical legislation matrix that would be both expensive and difficult for pharmacy retailers and their suppliers to navigate. And the decision-makers driving that legislation matrix would lack the pedigree of scientists that the Food and Drug Administration employs to address questions of appropriate access to medicines.

“The larger issue here is that we are poised to implement a solution to this issue that effectively addresses the illegal diversion of medicines containing pseudoephedrine without burdening consumers with a doctor’s visit they don’t need,” said Elizabeth Funderburk, spokeswoman for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, referencing negotiations with both Kansas and Missouri state governments around bankrolling a linked electronic database that would enable law enforcement officials to track pseudoephedrine purchases in real time. CHPA is ready to move forward on creating that database once state regulations are finalized, which is anticipated for later this year, Funderburk said.

CHPA is offering to fund an electronic tracking system for all states that will be administered by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators through a memorandum of understanding with appropriate state agencies. NADDI is a nonprofit organization whose members include law enforcement agencies responsible for investigating and prosecuting pharmaceutical drug diversion.

“CHPA recognizes that home meth labs are dangerous and toxic for communities, as well as a burden for law enforcement, and supports aggressive measures to stop domestic meth production,” CHPA stated. “Electronic tracking allows retailers to block illegal sales and enhances law enforcement’s suppression and investigative efforts.”

According to CHPA, state and federal purchase limits on pseudoephedrine have effectively reduced meth lab incidents by 61% nationwide. And while meth lab incidents are on the rise in some states because criminals are exploiting weaknesses in the current environment, “this alternative to prescription status provides no new costs or barriers to consumers, imposes no new costs on the healthcare system, allows the state to keep sales taxes generated by [over-the-counter] PSE sales and meets the law enforcement goal of preventing illegal sales of PSE,” CHPA stated.

Once implemented in Missouri, the database will tie Kansas and Missouri into similar databases in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

On the state level, both Oklahoma and California are considering the reverse-switch of pseudoephedrine—in other words, making the common decongestant available only with a doctor’s prescription—in an effort to stem methamphetamine production.

Rep. Lucky Lamons, D-Tulsa, Okla., announced plans to introduce the reverse-switch legislation in 2010.

Oregon currently is the only state that requires a prescription for pseudoephedrine products.

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Hy-Vee celebrates the other white meat

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A lot of people complain about pork barrel spending, but not Midwest supermarket chain Hy-Vee.

October is National Pork Month, and the West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee announced Friday that sales of the meat have increased more than 25% over October 2008. The chain said it was on track to increase pork tonnage by more than 30%.

 

“With pork prices the lowest they’ve been in more than a decade, we’ve focused our marketing efforts on promoting pork as a great value for consumers,” Hy-Vee assistant VP meat operations Kenan Judge said in a statement. “Today’s shopper is looking for nutritious, economical meal ideas, and pork perfectly fits the bill.”

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Patients prefer new diabetes drug Victoza over its competitor, survey finds

BY Alaric DeArment

MONTREAL A new diabetes drug satisfied patients more than its competitor, according to a study funded by the drug’s manufacturer.

According to data on 379 patients who took the Diabetes Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaires, presented Thursday at the 20th World Diabetes Congress and published in medical journal The Lancet, patients taking Novo Nordisk’s drug Victoza (liraglutide) perceived less abnormally low or high blood sugar levels — known respectively as hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia — than those taking Byetta (exenatide), made by Eli Lilly & Co., Amylin Corp. and Alkermes.

Victoza is approved in Europe, but Novo Nordisk is still waiting for approval from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.

“Liraglutide has shown here in a convincing study that it is associated with less nausea, less perceived hypoglycemia and definitely higher patient satisfaction compared to exenatide,” principal investigator Wolfgang Schmidt said in a statement. “Patient-reported outcomes data is an important extension of the efficacy data. If a patient is satisfied with his or her treatment, then they are much more likely to really stick to the treatment over the long term, which is necessary in Type 2 diabetes.”

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