PHARMACY

Study shows seniors find Medicare Web site hard to navigate

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Seniors who have difficulty navigating the Medicare Web site don’t just need another cup of coffee, according to research from the University of Miami reported by HealthDay News.

The researchers found that seniors have difficulty getting from one page on the site to another and have difficulty finding the information they need.

The team enlisted 112 people aged 50 and older who knew how to use computers and had them find their eligibility for home health-care services, find a home-care agency, find out about enrolling in the Medicare prescription drug program and select a prescription drug plan.

Almost 70 percent couldn’t find specific information about home-care services, while more than 80 percent could do the computation to determine which home-care plan to use. More than 70 percent also had difficulty finding information about the Medicare part D prescription drug program.

Results of the study were published in a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association Tuesday.

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Some fruit juices can affect efficacy of drugs, study shows

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Some kinds of juices may inhibit the body’s absorption of some drugs, according to a study by Canadian researchers released Tuesday.

The study showed that grapefruit, orange and apple juices can reduce the efficacy of drugs for treating cancer, heart disease, infections and organ-transplant rejections.

The researchers enlisted healthy volunteers and gave them the antihistamine fexofenadine, as well as a glass of grapefruit juice and a glass of water with a substance that makes grapefruit juice taste bitter or plain water. Subjects who drank the juice absorbed half the amount of fexofenadine that subjects who received water did.

The results of the study were presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.

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TriCor suit granted class-action status

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A judge for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware has given class-action status to a lawsuit that several drug stores filed against Abbott Labs and Fournier Industrie et Sante, according to the legal news Web site Law360.

The drug stores allege that the companies filed frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits to prevent a generic version of the anti-cholesterol drug TriCor from reaching the market.

The District of Columbia and 18 states filed a similar lawsuit, alleging that Abbott’s and Fournier’s actions forced their health plans to pay higher prices for TriCor, but the judge declined to give their suits class-action status.

The chains, which include CVS Pharmacy and Louisiana Wholesale Drug, argue that the two drug companies caused them to pay unnecessarily high prices that they had to pass on to consumers.

TriCor (fenofibrate) has annual sales of more than $1 billion, according to Abbott financial data.

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