HEALTH

Drug offerings expand under Merck Helps programs

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck is expanding its patient assistance program, the drug maker said Wednesday.

Merck announced an expansion of the number of drugs it offers under its Merck Helps programs, including the Merck Patient Assistant program, the Merck Vaccine Patient Assistance program, the ACT program for cancer and hepatitis C drugs, and the SUPPORT program for HIV and AIDS drugs. The program provides medicines and vaccines free of charge to eligible patients, primarily the uninsured, who make up to 400% of the federal poverty level and can’t afford Merck drugs without assistance.

 

“Merck has historically recognized the critical need for people to have access to the prescription medicines and vaccines they require, even if they lose their insurance,” Merck EVP and chief medical officer Michael Rosenblatt said. “Our patient assistance programs now provide access to even more medicines for chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure, allowing us to reach more people in need.”

 

 

Merck also said that its philanthropic arm, the Merck Company Foundation, made a grant to NeedyMeds, a nonprofit group that helps people who can’t afford medicines or healthcare costs by making information about assistance programs available. NeedyMeds plans to use the grant to translate its website into Spanish.

 

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Clinere’s ear cleaners hit retail

BY Michael Johnsen

MUNDELEIN, Ill. Clinere Products on Tuesday announced the launch of its Clinere ear cleaners, with distribution through Walmart, Kmart, Walgreens, CVS/pharmacy, Meijer, H-E-B and Shopko.

 

Clinere ear cleaners offer users an effective tool for ear cleaning, as well as ear-itch relief, the company stated. Complete with dual-purpose ends, a scoop can be used to remove unwanted wax, dirt and debris from the entrance area to the ear canal, while a flexible, finned end cleans and exfoliates the outer surfaces of the ear, as well as the ear canal entrance. The ear cleaners are made of soft, flexible plastic and are similar to physicians’ ear cleaning tools.

 

 

“After watching others clean their ears with foreign objects for years, I decided to develop a product that actually works,” stated Rick Olson, president of Clinere. “Whether individuals require daily or occasional cleaning, Clinere ear cleaners will provide them with the assistance they need.”

 

 

Clinere ear cleaners can be purchased in a 10-count package and are priced between $5.99 and $6.99. Future plans for Clinere ear cleaners include a softer, more flexible option for sensitive ears and an even softer version for infant ear cleaning.

 

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Report: FDA hearing to discuss biosimilar regulations

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is looking for input on regulations concerning knock-off versions of biotech drugs, according to published reports.

 

The Hill, a newspaper in Washington, reported Monday that the FDA would have a hearing on Nov. 2 and 3 concerning follow-on biologics, based on a draft document distributed to healthcare lobbyists.

 

 

According to the report, the hearing would focus on such issues as interchangeability and definitions of such terms as “biological product.”

 

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