PHARMACY

VirtualHealth Technologies looks forward to Congressional support of healthcare modernization

BY Alaric DeArment

LEXINGTON, Ky. A company that develops electronic medical records software is eagerly looking forward to the $20 billion that Congress plans to make available to modernize the healthcare industry.

VirtualHealth Technologies said it has “very aggressive” plans for 2009 to introduce new products, including a software package for practice management and electronic medical records, through subsidiary Medical Office Software. It plans to make the package available during the first three months of this year.

“The modernization of our healthcare system has been an excruciatingly slow process for too many years,” VirtualHealth Technologies president Jim Renfro said in a statement. “Historically, the catalyst in jump-starting the adoption of any technology in the physician practice market space is the support and participation of the federal government.”

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Teva Pharmaceuticals and Lonza Group join to market biosimilars

BY Alaric DeArment

Jerusalem As the possibility of a bill to allow Food and Drug Administration approval of biosimilars looms in Congress, two companies are already taking the initiative.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced Tuesday a partnership with Lonza Group to establish a joint venture to develop, manufacture and market biosimilars. The two companies did not specify where they would market the drugs.”We had identified biosimilars as a major growth driver for Teva in our long-term strategy and have been augmenting our knowledge base, capabilities and infrastructure to position Teva as a leader in this market,” Teva president and CEO Shlomo Yanai said in a statement. “This strategic partnership bolsters our biologics capabilities.”Teva, the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, already markets biosimilars in Europe, along with generic manufacturers Sandoz and Dr. Reddy’s, and pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co., Eli Lilly & Co. and AstraZeneca have recently announced the creation of biosimilars divisions.Financial terms of the deal between Lonza and Teva were not disclosed.

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Lawmakers concerned international drug manufacturing presents risk of counterfeits

BY Alaric DeArment

New York Concern has arisen about the manufacturing of ingredients for drugs in other countries, especially antibiotics like penicillin, according to published reports.

Drug manufacturing has mostly moved to countries such as India and China, but some lawmakers and analysts have said it increases the risks of counterfeits and bioterrorism.Already, more than 200 Americans have experienced dangerous drug reactions since November 2007 after taking counterfeit versions of the blood-thinning drug heparin manufactured in China containing a toxic chemical that merely mimics heparin. Last November, the Food and Drug Administration confiscated 11 lots of counterfeit heparin from a company based in Cincinnati. 

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