PHARMACY

Trace arsenic in drinking water could link to Type 2 diabetes

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Small amounts of arsenic in drinking water may be linked to Type 2 diabetes, according to research published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study examined medical tests from 788 adults and found that those with low concentrations of arsenic in their urine were four times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes as those with lower concentrations.

This is not the first time research has linked diabetes with arsenic, but it is the first time it has linked the disease with low levels of the chemical.

Arsenic sometimes occurs naturally in drinking water because of dissolved minerals, but it is also an industrial pollutant. Filtration systems remove it from drinking water, but it is still common in some areas, such as in the developing world. In addition to the link to diabetes, it is known to cause cancer.

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PHARMACY

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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