PHARMACY

Study shows imbalance in Rx drug prices by neighborhood

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Residents living in poor neighborhoods may pay more for prescription drugs at retail pharmacies than residents of wealthy neighborhoods, according to a study.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and RAND Corporation, examined data for AstraZeneca’s heartburn drug Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium), GlaxoSmithKline’s asthma drug Advair (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol xinafoate), Sanofi-Aventis’s and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s cardiovascular drug Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate) and Pfizer’s Z-Pak formulation of the antibiotic azithromycin from November 2006. They then classified the 627 ZIP codes in Florida according to median income of residents.

In the ZIP codes with the largest numbers of poor residents, the drugs were most expensive, costing 15 percent more than the state average at independent pharmacies. The prices varied less at chain retail pharmacies.

Residents of areas with median incomes of more than $60,000 paid $160 for a month worth of Nexium, while those living in areas with median incomes of less than $20,000 $176.

The researchers wrote that small increases in drug prices could adversely affect medication adherence among poor people.

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PHARMACY

Medimetriks announces agreement to market treatments for impetigo

BY Alaric DeArment

FAIRFIELD, N.J. Medimetriks Pharmaceuticals has entered into a licensing agreement with Perrigo for U.S. Marketing rights to Centany Ointment and two prescription keratolytic brands, Medimetriks announced Tuesday.

Johnson & Johnson’s OrthoNeutrogena professional division previously marketed Centany, which is used for treating impetigo caused by Straphylococcus aureas and Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration approved it in 2002.

The two keratolytic brands are urea-based therapies for treating severe dry skin.

“We are happy to have a partner that brings such a record of success in the branded pharmaceutical business,” Perrigo executive vice president Sharon Kochan said in a statement. “We believe the licensed products are in good hands, given Medimetriks management’s proven abilities in building a successful business in the dermatology and podiatry markets.”

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Few healthcare providers receive adequate training, tools to help patients quit smoking

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A new study suggests that few healthcare workers have sufficient training in smoking cessation to help patients quit.

The study, presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Philadelphia, found that 87 to 93 percent of healthcare providers receive less than five hours of smoking cessation training, while less than 6 percent know the governmental Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s guidelines for treating people with tobacco dependence.

The study surveyed 600 people working in health care, including physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, social workers and students, and divided them into prescribers and non-prescribers.

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