West-Ward launches first Norvir generic
West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, the U.S. subsidiary of Hikma Pharmaceuticals, has introduced the first generic of Norvir (ritonavir) tablets. The company’s generic treatment for HIV in combination with other antiretroviral agents will be entitled to 180 days of market exclusivity, West-Ward said.
“We are very excited to be launching ritonavir tablets,” Hikma generics president Brian Hoffman said. “This is an exciting product which demonstrates the successful execution of our strategy to develop differentiated products. We will be launching ritonavir with additional patient support and co-pay assistance to ensure more people are able to access this life-saving medicine.”
West-Ward said that as part of the launch, it was engaging advocacy organizations to gain an understanding of the best way to support patients and providers. It also will launch an education and awareness campaign that includes a website and direct communication.
West-Ward’s generic Norvir will be available in 100-mg dosage strength. The generic Norvir is launching into a market that IQVIA data said saw $208.5 million in sales for the 12 months ended December 2017.
Former Lilly CFO to head CVS Caremark
CVS Health’s pharmacy benefits manager division CVS Caremark has new leadership. The Woonsocket, R.I.-based company named Derica Rice, most recently Eli Lilly’s CFO, to the role of CVS Caremark president, effective March 30.
In his role at CVS Health, Rice will oversee the PBM business, including operations, mail service pharmacy, specialty pharmacy and sales and account management. He also will focus on pushing the PBM’s strategy by maintaining client relationships and developing new business.
“Our PBM clients and the members they serve are asking for innovation, especially around value-based reimbursement models and the role pharmacy can play in improving health outcomes and lowering total health care costs,” CVS Health COO Jon Roberts said. “We believe Derica is a great addition to our team, and the experience he brings with regard to innovation in these value-based models, in particular, will help us continue to serve our clients’ needs while also developing and delivering innovative solutions and offerings.”
Rice joins the company as CVS Health pursues its $69 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna, and as companies increasingly look to PBM-based solutions to curb rising healthcare spend. Rice had been with Lilly since 1990 when he retired from the CFO post in December 2017. In his 27 years there, he worked his way up the ladder through various finance and operations roles. He was named CFO in 2006.
Industry ready to assist on Trump’s opioid plan
President Donald Trump shared plans to combat the opioid crisis on Monday in Manchester, N.H., which has been especially hard-hit by the epidemic.
According to the White House, the Administration’s opioid response plan includes efforts to reduce factors fueling the crisis that include illicit supplies, education, combating over-prescribing of opioids and recovery support services. It includes a Safer Prescribing Plan that aims to reduce opioid prescription fills by one-third in the next three years while pushing for reimbursements to be issued with best practices. It also aims to arm first responders with naloxone, expand access to evidence-based addiction treatments nationwide.
“Defeating this epidemic will require the commitment of every state, local, and federal agency. Failure is not an option,” Trump said. “Addiction is not our future. We will liberate our country from this crisis. Never been like this. Hundreds of years — never been like this. And we will raise a drug-free generation of American children.”
Following the president’s speech, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president Steve Anderson commended Trump while reaffirming that pharmacy is poised to play a central role in opioid response efforts.
“NACDS commends President Trump’s leadership, and that of bipartisan members of Congress, in working toward more comprehensive policies to address the opioid abuse epidemic,” Anderson said. “Key elements of President Trump’s plan, and legislative proposals under consideration in Congress, are consistent with NACDS’ policy recommendations. These recommendations are based on pharmacists’ experiences on the front lines of healthcare delivery.”
Anderson said that NACDS is urging lawmakers to pass policy related to electronic prescribing, limiting initial opioid prescription for acute pain, the creation of a national prescription drug monitoring program and more robust drug disposal efforts.
“Our policy recommendations in these areas build on pharmacy’s long-standing work in the areas of compliance programs; helping to pioneer and advance electronic prescribing; fostering safe prescription drug disposal; patient education; security initiatives; promoting naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; and more,” Anderson said. “NACDS has valued the opportunity to engage on this issue consistently with the Trump Administration and with bipartisan Congressional leaders. … We look forward to continuing to advocate for policies that will prove effective in improving the health and safety of individuals, of families, and of the communities served by NACDS members.”