Although a health reform measure on reimporting prescription drugs has positive aspects, allowing the practice would be "logistically challenging" and "resource intensive" and could spur "confusion" in labeling and distribution, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg wrote in a letter. The amendment's author, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., criticized Hamburg's letter but said he will review the agency's concerns.
The Teacher Retirement System of Texas has awarded CVS Caremark a two-year contract worth nearly $1 billion to provide its services to retired Texas teachers. The new deal replaces an existing CVS contract and includes options for four one-year renewals.
The nationwide initiative for the use of e-prescribing has been gaining steam, with approximately 100 million e-prescriptions submitted last year, but "strong leadership and additional measures are needed to fully embed e-prescribing to handle the 4 billion prescriptions written annually in the United States," writes Dr. Sumit Dutta, Medco Health Solutions' senior vice president of physician advocacy and strategy. E-prescribing is being encouraged as a way to minimize the number of medication errors, boost patient safety and reduce health care costs.
A measure on drug importation involving Canada would break an $80 billion agreement between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry, said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Senate Democrats delayed a vote on the amendment to the health care reform bill, while the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America continues to lobby against it.
Ranbaxy Laboratories plans to launch its version of Flomax, a treatment for urinary disorders from Astellas Pharma and Boehringer Ingelheim, in the U.S. in March. The Indian drugmaker was granted "first-to-file" status by the FDA, giving it a six-month advantage over other generic-drug firms seeking to introduce their own copycat versions of Flomax.