PHARMACY

Watson confirms patent challenge for generic Renvela

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Generic drug maker Watson Pharmaceuticals is challenging the patent on a drug for treating kidney disease, Watson said Tuesday.

Watson announced that it had filed an approval application with the Food and Drug Administration for sevelamer carbonate tablets, a treatment for controlling serum phosphorus in patients with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis. The drug is a generic version of Genzyme Corp.’s Renvela.

The application contained a Paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion under the provisions of the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984 that the patent covering Renvela is invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed when Watson markets its generic version.

In response, Genzyme filed suit against Watson Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to prevent Watson from commercializing its version of the drug. The suit places a stay of final FDA approval for two and a half years or until the two companies resolve the case before the court.

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CVS Caremark recognized for family-friendly benefits

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has landed on Conceive magazine’s annual “50 Best Companies” list, a list of employers who are leading the way in corporate America with their generous family-building benefits, despite the challenging economy.

“At CVS Caremark one of our goals is to be the best company to work for and we have implemented many programs and initiatives to help us achieve that goal,” stated Lisa Bisaccia, SVP and chief human resources officer for CVS Caremark. “We have developed our benefits package to support our employees — dreams of starting a family in a variety of ways. Whether our employees give birth or choose to adopt, we have benefits available to help support them throughout their journey.”

Released in the summer 2010 issue of Conceive, and available at ConceiveOnline.com, the list highlights U.S. companies that offer their employees the best benefits for starting or adding to their families. The rankings are based on the company’s fertility and adoption coverage, including benefits for assisted reproductive technology and in vitro fertilization, infertility prescription drugs, paid parental leave and cash reimbursement towards adoption expenses.

CVS Caremark offers many family-friendly benefits, including financial adoption assistance, paid and unpaid leave for birth and adoptive parents, and coverage for infertility diagnostic procedures, fertility medications and assisted reproductive technologies up to $20,000 per employee.

Most employers, however, still have a long way to go, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The percentage of companies that include IVF coverage has dropped from 28% in 2006 to 23% in 2009, and the percentage that offer adoption assistance has dropped from 22% in 2006 to 10% in 2009.

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New college pharmaceutical care lab ‘simulates community pharmacy practice environment’

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A pharmacy school now has its own state-of-the-art pharmaceutical care laboratory, thanks to Duane Reade.

Long Island University’s Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences opened the Duane Reade Pharmaceutical Care Laboratory, which “simulates a modern community pharmacy practice environment,” said Stephen Gross, dean emeritus of the College of Pharmacy, who secured the funds from Duane Reade.

“It provides important knowledge and skills that will better prepare our students for the advanced practice experiences that students will get when they are placed in actual community pharmacies,” Gross said.

Equipped with a computerized, fully operational prescription department, the new lab features semi-private and private counseling spaces and is being used in a variety of courses, including classes in pharmacotherapeutics and communication skills in pharmaceutical care.

A dedication ceremony for the laboratory was held earlier this spring. In addition to Gross, participants in the ceremony were University president David Steinberg, University VP Jeffrey Kane, Brooklyn campus provost Gale Stevens Haynes and assistant pharmacy dean Lorraine Cicero. Duane Reade was represented by SVP pharmacy operations Frank Scorpiniti.

“Duane Reade has been particularly generous to the college, providing funding for this laboratory, underwriting innovative community pharmacy residency programs and supporting many student-run events and activities,” Gross said.

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