PHARMACY

CDC Foundation launches Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA The independent nonprofit partner of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC’s division of viral hepatitis recently launched a coalition that provides feedback on the information and tools needed in the field of viral hepatitis.

CDC Foundation said the Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition was launched in anticipation of the release of the Institute of Medicine report on viral hepatitis, which will provide funding for specific projects, and also will support CDC by sharing research data, connecting CDC to appropriate stakeholders and networks, and to respond to the recommendations outlined in the IOM report.

The coalition is comprised of private-sector organizations committed to supporting high priority research, education and program evaluation projects initiated by CDC’s division of viral hepatitis. Founding members include: Gilead Sciences, Merck & Co., OraSure Technologies and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. In addition to supporting the overall coalition, members will have the opportunity to fund and partner with CDC on CDC-led research and education projects as priorities are identified. Two initial priority projects include a study called Birth-cohort Evaluation to Advance Screening and Testing for Hepatitis C (BEST-C) and a national hepatitis education campaign. For each project, Coalition members will reach out to other critical partners in the hepatitis community as appropriate, including partners from academia, patient advocacy and other hepatitis-related groups. Coalition members are committed to engaging the entire hepatitis community in efforts to improve screening and treatment of viral hepatitis.

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Walgreens offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens now is offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries at all of its more than 7,100 pharmacies throughout the country.

Following the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D insurance plans, Walgreens is assisting those beneficiaries who’ve made changes to their prescription drug coverage. Review sessions with Walgreens pharmacists are available daily by appointment through Jan. 31, and are designed to help patients maximize their plan benefits.

Review sessions include:

  • A review of beneficiary’s current medications, tiers within their selected plan, co-pays and cost-savings opportunities
  • Discussion of available health and wellness services including pneumonia and shingles vaccinations and 90-day prescription benefits
  • Checks for potential drug interactions

Customers can call their nearest Walgreens pharmacy to schedule an appointment. Visit www.walgreens.com or call 1-800-Walgreens for store locations and hours.

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Watson files FDA application for generic LoSeasonique

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Watson Labs, a subsidiary of specialty pharmaceutical company Watson Pharmaceuticals, has filed an abbreviated new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration for an oral contraceptive.

Watson is seeking approval to market its levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (0.10-mg/0.02-mg) oral contraceptive product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545, which is owned by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Teva.  Watson’s levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol product is a generic version of Teva’s LoSeasonique, which is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy.

On Nov. 23, 2009, pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, Watson notified Duramed that its ANDA requesting approval from the FDA for a generic version of LoSeasonique contained a paragraph IV certification asserting that the LoSeasonique patent is invalid, unenforceable and/or not infringed.  Teva Women’s Health filed suit against Watson on Jan. 6, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey seeking to prevent Watson from commercializing its product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545.  Based on available information, Watson believes it may be entitled to 180 days of generic market exclusivity or shared exclusivity should its product receive approval.

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