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Washington state places age restriction on purchase of DXM

BY Michael Johnsen

OLYMPIA, Wash. — In an effort to curb abuse of over-the-counter cold and cough medications by minors, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday signed legislation — House Bill 2163 — that places an age restriction on the purchase of dextromethorphan.

“This will deter teens who are purchasing cold medicines with the intent to abuse them," stated Washington Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, who introduced the legislation. "When I heard about this and began to research it I realized this was a growing problem and something needed to be done,” he said. “Rates of abuse of this substance have increased significantly over the last decade. Other states have already taken action and this legislation will help protect children in Washington state.”

“The makers of over-the-counter medicines want to acknowledge Gov. Inslee, Rep. Paul Harris and the Washington State legislature for taking a major step to address teen cough medicine abuse,” stated Scott Melville, president and CEO for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “The passage of similar legislation in states across the country indicates that there is a growing support for this measure. We hope this action in Washington state will help generate further support for a national law.”

House Bill 2163 will prohibit the sale of non-prescription drugs containing dextromethorphan to a person under the age of 18 unless he or she is actively enrolled in the military or an emancipated minor. Selling DXM will be punishable by a written warning for the first offense and a class 1 civil infraction for subsequent offenses. The law will also require the trade association representing manufacturers of DXM products to annually supply retailers and the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission with a list of all products that contain DXM.

Harris said the legislation will also create a level playing field to ensure that all retailers are adhering to the same process and rules. Some retail stores including Rite Aid and Walmart currently have polices that require identification for purchase of medications containing DXM, Harris noted.

The bill will take effect July 1, 2015, allowing retailers to implement measures to comply with the new law.

According to the 2013 National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Monitoring the Future Survey, approximately one in 25 teens abuses DXM to get high.

Upon enactment of this bill, Washington will join Virginia, California and New York as the fourth state to place an age-18 restriction on DXM sales.

 

 

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Avella Specialty Pharmacy to distribute Celgene’s Otezla

BY Michael Johnsen

PHOENIX — Just days after the Food and Drug Administration approved Otezla, a new oral therapy to treat active psoriatic arthritis in adult patients, Avella Specialty Pharmacy on Friday announced that it is prepared to begin distributing the drug. 

At this time, Avella is one of a select number of pharmacies that are contracted by Celgene, the drug manufacturer, to dispense the product at launch.

Otezla is the first oral therapy approved to treat active psoriatic arthritis, a condition that impacts a sizable percentage of individuals who suffer from psoriasis. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriasis is the most prevalent chronic inflammatory disease in the U.S.

Otezla provides convenient oral dosing for PsA patients who up until now did not have an FDA-approved oral treatment option for PsA. In trials conducted prior to FDA approval, Otezla demonstrated clinically significant improvements across multiple manifestations of psoriatic arthritis including joint pain and swelling, as well as dactylitis (swelling of fingers) and enthesitis (swelling of the tendons) in patients with these pre-existing symptoms.

“Avella is proud to be at the forefront of innovation by providing access to this new medication for psoriatic arthritis,” stated Leslie Yendro, VP business development of Avella,“ We believe that our emphasis on engaging and educating patients, combined with the efficacy and convenience of this new oral therapy, will benefit individuals with this psoriatic arthritis.”

 

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Polar vortex set to create a shorter but more powerful season for allergy sufferers

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The polar vortex may be responsible for an exceptionally strong, though delayed, spring allergy season, according to a report published Friday on CNN.com. 

Citing allergy experts, the snowfall and below-freezing temperatures that defined this year’s winter means a late flowering for trees, and that means pollinating trees will "be busy catching up" once temperatures do warm up. 

"If it warms up quickly, and gets really warm, that may mean everything starts pollinating all at once," commented Estelle Levetin, professor of biology at University of Tulsa, CNN.com reported. Typically, trees release pollens much more gradually. But if spring is shortened, then that process is compacted into a few weeks.

The increased moisture in the ground — melting winter snows coupled with spring rains — will also spawn plenty of mold for allergy sufferers, the report noted. 

 

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