PHARMACY

University of Maryland students and faculty receive honor from NACDS

BY Diana Alickaj

ALEXANDRIA , Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores honored the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy students and faculty as “Community Pharmacy Great Communicators,” for their efforts in securing funding for the Pharmacy Hall addition.

The students went to Baltimore on Feb. 14 to secure and ensure that they would receive funding for the school’s plan to build a seven-story addition to the north wall of Pharmacy Hall in the University of Maryland. They called for more space for students to study pharmacy as well as allow room for interested student to attend the university without being held back because of room constraints.

The “Community Pharmacy Great Communicator” program was created in 2007 to honor and recognize leaders who spoke out, and made an effort in the improvement or advancement of Pharmacy. The students’ award represents the fifth time the award has been given out and the first time it was given to a specific group of people.

“In congratulating you today, I also make a plea: ensure that your recent actions indicate a career-long commitment to advocacy,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer, Steve Anderson. “You know you will make a difference in the lives of patients. I hope you also know you can make a difference in the decisions of government officials. Shaping these decisions is essential, because public policy can devastate a profession and a business, or foster their ability to improve peoples’ lives. Advocacy is not an interruption of a pharmacist’s primary duties, but rather makes them possible.”

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PHARMACY

Combo vaccine for kids linked to fever and seizures

BY Adam Kraemer

ATLANTA A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that children suffered higher rates of fever-related convulsions when they got a Merck combination vaccine instead of two separate shots, according to published reports.

Prior to the findings, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had stated a distinct preference for the ProQuad vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella as well as chickenpox. The committee’s argument was that it would be better to give children the fewest injections possible.

Now, however, the committee has withdrawn its preference for ProQuad, choosing not to exhibit any preference at all. “Safety, shortages, delivery issues—lots of reasons not to state such a strong preference,” said a committee member. ProQuad costs $124 per dose, about the same as the two other shots combined.

In the study of children ages 12 months through 23 months, the rate of seizures was twice as high in toddlers who got ProQuad, compared with those who got one shot for chickenpox and one for the three other diseases. Neither the convulsions, nor the fevers that engendered them resulted in any child deaths. Merck has conducted its own study with similar results: 1 occurrence in approximately 2,000 children.

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PHARMACY

Procter & Gamble wins patent suit for Actonel

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The United States District Court of Delaware today ruled in favor of the Procter & Gamble Company in the patent infringement lawsuit filed by P&G against Teva Pharmaceuticals. The positive ruling protects P&G’s rights in the U.S. to exclusively market the osteoporosis therapy Actonel (risedronate sodium tablets).

P&G filed a patent infringement lawsuit in August against Teva to enforce P&G’s U.S. composition of matter patent for risedronate, the active ingredient in Actonel. Teva was seeking to market a generic version of Actonel in the United States under the assertion that the Actonel patent was not valid due to obviousness of the invention.

The court ruled today in favor of the patent. “We are pleased that the Court recognized and acknowledged the uniqueness of the risedronate molecule,” said Tom Finn, P&G president of global health care. “We are very proud of the extensive R&D efforts which brought Actonel to market, providing patients help that they need to manage their osteoporosis and prevent fractures.”

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