PHARMACY

House investigates possibly misleading Lipitor advertisement

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Democrats in the House of Representatives are investigating as to whether or not consumers are being misled by advertisements for Lipitor featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik, the inventor of the artificial heart, the Associated Press reported.

Michigan Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak sent a letter to the drug’s manufacturer Pfizer on Monday, questioning the credibility of Jarvik, whom they believe is not certified to practice or prescribe medicine because he might not have taken the necessary tests or performed an internship.

Pfizer spokesman Chris Loder said Jarvik’s presence in the advertisements is meant to educate consumers on the importance heart health. “Dr. Jarvik is a respected health care professional and heart expert who knows how imperative it is for patients to do everything they can to keep their heart working well,” Loder said in a statement.

The representatives have requested that Pfizer turn over all of its information concerning Jarvik including its contract with him and any information about his professional qualifications.

Lipitor is the most prescribed drug in the U.S., with sales of $13.6 billion in 2006.

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PHARMACY

Internet pharmacies make false claims regarding certification

BY Drew Buono

SOUTH FLORIDA Federal regulators are receiving complaints from the Better Business Bureau and other professional groups after discovering that some Internet pharmacies are falsely claiming to be certified by their organizations, according to South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel.

The pharmacies are stating that they are located in Canada and are therefore offering cheaper prices on drugs to its customers, many of whom are Florida’s elderly. Customers started complaining after they wither did not receive their medications or they got drugs that appeared questionable.

One of the companies that the Internet pharmacies claim to be certified by is PharmacyChecker.com. Over the last 18 months, PharmacyChecker has received about 100 complaints from customers who thought they certified the websites.

The Internet pharmacies are using fake logos and phone numbers to make them appear certified and legitimate to customers. The Canadian International Pharmacy Association, which has 25 member pharmacies that are government-licensed, has also been receiving several calls a week from American consumers about not receiving shipments from sites they thought were CIPA-approved.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has started a special investigation of Internet pharmacy practices, including the trademark violations and other issues.

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Amylin launches SymlinPen for Type 2 diabetes

BY Drew Buono

SAN DIEGO Amylin Pharmaceuticals has released its new prescription device, the SymlinPen 120 and 60 pen-injector devices for administering the blood sugar controlling drug Symlin. The new devices feature simple, fixed dosing to improve mealtime glucose control.

The SymlinPen 120 features fixed dosing to deliver 60 or 120 micrograms of Symlin per dose. The SymlinPen 60 features fixed dosing to deliver 15, 30, 45, or 60 micrograms of Symlin per dose. Both pen-injector devices can be conveniently stored at room temperature not to exceed 86 degrees F after first use.

“Symlin offers enhanced blood glucose control with potential weight loss for patients with diabetes using mealtime insulin, enabling them to do more to manage their diabetes,” said Daniel M. Bradbury, president and chief executive officer, Amylin Pharmaceuticals. “The convenience of the new SymlinPen with simple, fixed dosing will make it easier for these patients using multiple daily injections to start and stay with Symlin.”

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