PHARMACY

Study: Generics just as good as branded heart disease drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Generic drugs for treating heart disease work as well as branded drugs, according to a new study.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was based on 47 studies of nine drugs published in journals such as Medline and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts between January 1984 and August 2008. The researchers, from Harvard Medical School, found no difference in how well patients did when given branded drugs or generic equivalents for cholesterol, hypertension or prevention of heart attacks.

Generic drugs can cost between 30 and 80 percent less than branded drugs. The Food and Drug Administration received authority to approve generic drugs in 1984, with the passage of the Hatch-Waxman Act, though it does not have a way to approve drugs that mimic the effects of biotech medications.

“Today’s article in the respected medical journal JAMA confirms that generic medicines are as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts,” Generic Pharmaceutical Association president and chief executive Kathleen Jaeger said in a statement Wednesday. “This scientific review is the latest in a growing number of authoritative statements from the FDA and others proving that it is safe to substitute an FDA-approved generic medicine for a brand-name product.”

This year, Jaeger said, legislatures in 33 state have introduced “carve-out” bills designed to place limits on when generic drugs may be used.

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Walgreens completes purchase of McKesson Specialty Pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens on Monday announced the completion of its acquisition of McKesson Corporation’s specialty pharmacy, which includes the McKesson Specialty Pharmacy in Pittsburgh and IVPCARE, a specialty pharmacy focused on reproductive health based in Frisco, Texas, with operations in Torrance, Calif., Wilmington, Mass. and St. Louis.

“This acquisition further expands our national capabilities and access to managed care payors,” stated Michael Nameth, executive vice president of Walgreens Health Services.

Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreen Co. operated by its managed care division, Walgreens Health Services, is a national provider of injectable and biopharmaceutical medications dedicated to serving the needs of patients living with complex, chronic health and medical conditions. Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy provides personalized care and services through dedicated fulfillment centers across the country and through more than 6,500 electronically linked Walgreens pharmacies, including locations in academic medical centers, community hospitals and physician office buildings.

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Matrixx launches cold and flu mobile application

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Matrixx Initiatives on Tuesday launched the Zicam Cold & Flu Companion mobile application for the T-Mobile G1. The application enables on-the-go consumers to take charge of their health by checking cold and flu activity by zip code, among other features, the company stated.

“The Cold & Flu Companion offers an innovative and customizable resource for consumers to prepare for the cold and flu season,” stated Tim Connors, vice president of marketing at Matrixx Initiatives. “Knowing the latest cold and flu news and understanding the cold, flu and cough activity in a localized area can aid consumers in being aware of the risks around them.”

The service shows users the percentage of sick people in any given zip code, what types of symptoms are most prevalent and which ones to look out for in a specific area. The application also keeps users updated on the latest cold and flu news.

The application also provides a tool to receive coupons for Zicam products and location-based directions identify nearby retailers where products can be purchased and coupons redeemed.

The same mobile application will be released for the iPhone in mid-December.

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