PHARMACY

Watson launches generic version of Actos

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – The Food and Drug Administration has approved a Type 2 diabetes drug made by Watson Pharmaceuticals, the company said, following a federal court’s order for the agency to approve the drug.

Watson announced the launch of pioglitazone hydrochloride tablets in the 15-mg, 30-mg and 45-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Takeda’s Actos, branded and generic versions of which had sales of about $2.7 billion during the 12-month period ended in August, according to IMS Health.

The launch follows a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to order the FDA to allow the launch. Watson filed suit against the FDA in August 2012, alleging that an agency decision to deny Watson’s claim to shared exclusivity with Mylan in marketing a generic version of Actos would improperly delay its launch of the drug. Mylan itself had attempted to intervene to stop the launch of the drug by filing a motion in the court to stay the court’s order. 

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Rite Aid stocks extra emergency supplies for Hurricane Sandy

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid is stocking extra emergency supplies and keeping its pharmacies open as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, the retail pharmacy chain said.

The company said that stores in the potential path of the storm had increased supplies of bottled water, flashlights, batteries, canned food for people and pets, first aid supplies, disposable cameras, duct tape and cleaning supplies.

Rite Aid also said prescriptions could be filled at any of its stores using its national pharmacy network. Pharmacists will be available to answer questions and assist people with medication needs and help them prepare for the storm. 

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Walgreens releases preparation advice as East Coast braces for Hurricane Sandy

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — As officials across the East Coast closely monitor the approach of Hurricane Sandy, Walgreens and Duane Reade on Saturday offered several preparation tips to ensure uninterrupted access to prescription medications. 

For evacuees, Walgreens suggested that consumers leave first and refill later at a pharmacy close to their evacuation area. "This allows you to avoid potentially long lines at your local pharmacy, and you won’t needlessly delay your evacuation," Walgreens advised. 

Walgreens also advised patients to take a waterproof  bag with all current medication — even if the bottle is empty. "The information on the prescription label will help the pharmacist refill your medicine once you arrive at your destination. Heat, humidity and sunlight can degrade the effectiveness of medicine, so try to protect it from extreme weather conditions," Walgreens noted. 

And patients should keep a written record of their current prescriptions in a valuable papers file. "If you’re taking several prescription drugs, it’s an especially good idea to keep a record of your current dosage and doctor’s contact information," the retailer noted. "Walgreens patients can register online at Walgreens.com and print out this information directly from their patient profile."

With the advent of smartphones and tablets, smartphone users can now register for Walgreens mobile applications to order prescription refills while on the go. Customers with smartphones also can utilize Walgreens prescription refill-by-scan feature by scanning the bar code on their pill bottle with their phones. 

Walgreens also is a member of ICERx.org (In Case of Emergency Prescriptions), a secure prescription information network available to pharmacists and doctors during a national emergency. As a member, Walgreens pharmacists can fill prescriptions and access information for hurricane-affected patients even if the patient normally uses another pharmacy.

And Walgreens collaborates with Rx Response, an initiative of the biopharmaceutical supply system, to help ensure patient access to medications following a natural disaster.

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