HEALTH

Paperless prescribing hits milestone

BY Drug Store News Team

NEW YORK Surescripts’ announcement that more than 100,000 physicians have jumped aboard the e-prescribing bandwagon is an important milestone for the industry as one of the major hurdles for e-prescribing has been physician adoption.

 

As stated in the article, by the end of 2008, there were 74,000 doctors actively prescribing electronically, compared with 36,000 at the end of 2007. This means that physician adoption has increased more than 100% between 2008 and 2007.

 

 

What’s even more important is that these numbers will likely ramp up quickly in light of incentives created under the Medicare reform and HIT stimulus.

 

In fact, a recent Pharmaceutical Care Management Association study found that financial incentives for physicians to adopt health information technology included in the recent economic stimulus bill will increase the number of prescribers using electronic prescribing to more than 75% over the next five years — nearly double the rate of use anticipated after passage of last year’s e-prescribing legislation.

The study also found that e-prescribing will help prevent 3.5 million medication errors and save the federal government $22 billion in drug and medical costs over the next 10 years.

 

“E-prescribing saves lives, lowers costs and will substantially finance the government?s overall HIT investment in the new stimulus law,” stated PCMA president and CEO Mark Merritt in announcing the study findings.

 

 

It should also be noted that a ramp up in e-prescribing could have an impact on top-line pharmacy sales as more scripts reach the pharmacy counter.

 

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Biocodex appoints new VP, managing director

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN BRUNO, Calif. Biocodex, manufacturer of Florastor and Florastor Kids probiotic supplements, on Thursday announced the appointment of Marc Rohman as VP and managing director of Biocodex, Inc., the French company’s U.S. subsidiary.

According to Nicolas Coudurier, international director of Biocodex, the U.S. market is a key priority for the company for its planned strategic expansion in the pharmaceutical arena.

“Florastor has been a tremendous success worldwide, and we feel there is great potential for the U.S. to be one of our largest footprints for this and other brands,” Coudurier said. “We’re thrilled to have someone with [Rohman’s] vast pharma expertise, not only on the marketing side, but also on the medical affairs side, to lead our foray into new U.S. product offerings.”

Prior to joining Biocodex, Rohman was part of the senior management team at FlowMedica where he was responsible for directing the company’s collaboration efforts for targeted renal therapy. While at FlowMedica, he also directed the collaborative pharma and other general business development efforts, as well as lead marketing, market development and general promotion of the company.

“Maximizing the potential of the Florastor brand is going to be a key priority for me, but at the same time, I will also be focusing on strategic alliances to build the company’s U.S. portfolio,” Rohman said. “Within the next five years or so, I’d like to see the U.S. arm of Biocodex bring at least two or more products to market.”

In addition to his work at FlowMedica, Rohman also worked for leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies, such as Scios, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003, Mallinckrodt (now Tyco Healthcare), Boehringer Mannheim, Knoll Pharmaceuticals and Marion Labs.

Rohman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising from Michigan State University.

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FDA to expand Plan B availability to 17-year-olds

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday informed Duramed Research, manufacturer of Plan B, that it may market the emergency contraceptive without a prescription to women age 17 years and older, following submission and approval of the appropriate application.

Currently, the emergency contraceptive Plan B is available behind the pharmacy counter for women over the age of 18, but as a prescription-only product for women 17 years old and younger.

The FDA decision came within the 30 days mandated by a federal court to permit the Plan B drug sponsor to make Plan B available to women 17 and older without a prescription.

“The government will not appeal this decision,” the FDA stated. “In accordance with the court’s order, and consistent with the scientific findings made in 2005 by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research,  FDA notified the manufacturer of Plan B informing the company that it may … market Plan B without a prescription to women 17 years of age and older.”

Plan B is manufactured by Duramed Research, which was acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in December as part of its acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals.

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