PHARMACY

Winners of contest to spur interest in pharmacy, STEM careers for high school students announced

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Three high school seniors from Topeka, Kan., won a contest that sponsors hope will lead to better health outcomes while also getting young people interested in pharmacy careers.

The winners of the inaugural Pharmacy is Right for Me Innovation Challenge, all students at Topeka’s Seaman High School, designed a means to improve medication adherence by equipping medications with a micro-sensor and camera. The contest, which included 14 teams of more than 60 high school students from across the country, is sponsored by the American Pharmacists Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and OptumRx.

The winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington that includes a special reception at APhA headquarters with professional pharmacists and leaders in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

"We created the Pharmacy is Right for Me Innovation Challenge to give high school students a true glimpse into the broad opportunities that pharmacy and other STEM fields can offer," OptumRx SVP professional practice and pharmacy policy and contest advisory board chairman John Jones said. "We also want to tap the imaginative potential of these young students. Our goal is to reach students, particularly young people form underserved and underrepresented communities early in their education to engage the next generation of STEM and pharmacy leaders."

The second- and third-place winners included another team from Seaman High School and one from Dunbar High School in Fort Myers, Fla. Each member of those teams will receive an iPad Mini

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PHARMACY

FDA approves new Teva contraceptive

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new contraceptive therapy made by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Teva said Monday.

The drug maker announced the approval of Quartette (levonorgestrel, ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol) tablets. Teva said the drug represented the "next generation" of extended-regimen oral contraceptives and was designed to minimize breakthrough bleeding between scheduled periods.

"Breakthrough bleeding can be experienced with any birth control pill, especially during the first few months, and is one of the reasons a large number of women discontinue extended regimens," George Washington School of Medicine professor of obstetrics and gynecology James Simon said in a statement on behalf of Teva. "The estrogen in Quartette increases at specific points and provides four short light periods a year. Breakthrough bleeding decreases over time, which might help encourage patient adherence."

 

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Actavis seeks approval for additional strength of generic testosterone gel

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Just a week after the Supreme Court heard the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit over its deal with AbbVie to sell a generic version of a testosterone-replacement therapy, Actavis is challenging the patent on another strength of the drug.

Actavis said Monday that it had filed with the Food and Drug Administration for approval of testosterone gel in the 1.62% strength. The drug is a generic version of AbbVie’s AndroGel 1.62%. The case that went before the Supreme Court on March 25 concerns the 1% strength of AndroGel.

AbbVie subsidiary Unimed Pharmaceuticals and another company, Besins Healthcare, filed suit against Actavis Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware to prevent commercialization of the generic, alleging that Actavis’ FDA application violates a patent scheduled to expire in August 2020. The lawsuit puts a stay of FDA approval on the drug for up to 30 months, unless the companies reach a settlement.

AndroGel 1.62% had sales of about $690 million during the 12-month period that ended in January, according to IMS Health.

 

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