PHARMACY

Study shows high cost of allergies in U.S.

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion and other symptoms of allergies can cause annoyance and misery for anyone, but according to statistics released Wednesday by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, they’re also expensive.

Americans spent $11 billion on prescription medications and doctor visits related to allergies in 2005, a total of $4 billion for doctor visits and $7 billion for drugs. The statistics did not include over-the-counter medicines, but did include drugs such as Claritin, which now is sold over the counter but required a prescription between 2000 and 2005.

The 2005 numbers represent a huge jump from just five years earlier, when consumers spent slightly more than half at $6 billion, according to the agency.

Claritin, manufactured by Schering-Plough and known generically as loratidine, had net sales of $391 million in 2007, according to Schering-Plough financial data.

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Florida e-prescribing organization releases registered vendor list

BY Alaric DeArment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ePrescribe Florida, an organization that assists pharmacies in adopting electronic prescription systems, released a list of registered vendor solutions Tuesday.

Registered vendors made the list by meeting a set of e-prescribing and patient-safety criteria, such as alerting customers about potential interactions between drugs and allergies, as well as meeting Medicare electronic prescription standards. The list of 13 vendors includes H2H Solutions, iScribe, MedPlus, Misys Healthcare Systems and NextGen Healthcare.

ePrescribe Florida comprises various pharmacies, physicians, insurers, health-care improvement organizations and other organizations and professionals.

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Cephalon sues Watson over Fentora patent

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Drug maker Cephalon alleges that Watson infringed on its patent by developing a generic equivalent to its drug, Fentora.

Fentora (fentanyl citrate) is used to treat pain in cancer patients and received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in September 2006.

Watson applied for FDA approval of its generic version in April. In response, Cephalon filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on June 2, asserting that Watson had infringed on patents ‘604 and ‘590, both of which expire in 11 years.

Fentora recorded sales of $135 million in 2007.

The FDA has, however, granted approval for Watson’s application for a generic version of KV Pharmaceutical’s Micro-K Extencaps in 600 mg and 750 mg doses.

The company that is now Wyeth sold global rights and the trademark for Micro-K to KV for $36 million in 1999. Micro-K had sales of $80 between March 2007 and March 2008, according to IMS Health data.

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