Breaking News:

November 22, 2004

Two New Jersey pharmacists were among 17 suspects arrested in three states for allegedly running an OxyContin drug ring. The operation, which allegedly moved the painkiller from the mob in New Jersey to college kids in Boston, involved members of the Lucchese and Bonanno organized crime families and the Bloods street gang.

R.Ph.s busted in OxyContin ring Two New Jersey pharmacists were among 17 suspects arrested in three states for allegedly running an OxyContin drug ring. The operation, which allegedly moved the painkiller from the mob in New Jersey to college kids in Boston, involved members of the Lucchese and Bonanno organized crime families and the Bloods street gang. Newark pharmacists Steve Mensah-Narh and Jacob Boado were charged with conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. They allegedly charged $700 to dispense 60 pills, and the ringleader bought upwards of 1,500 pills per week, according to investigators.

HDMA report: EPC/RFID quite beneficial The economic benefits associated with adoption of EPC/RFID, or electronic product code and radio frequency identification, range between $500 million and $1 billion annually for pharmaceutical manufacturers and between $200 million and $400 million annually for healthcare distributors. This finding comes from a new report released by the Healthcare Distribution Management Association Healthcare Foundation. The report, entitled "Adopting EPC in Healthcare: Costs and Benefits," found annual benefits of $20 million to $400 million in avoided incidents of counterfeiting, which can damage brand value and public confidence. The report was based on research conducted by A. T. Kearney.

Humira labeling revised to include new warnings The FDA and Abbott Laboratories recently notified healthcare professionals of revisions to the "Warnings" section of the labeling for adalimumab (Humira), indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. These warnings include serious infections with the combined use of adalimumab and anakinra (Kineret, Amgen); hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis; and hematologic events, including pancytopenia and aplastic anemia. The MedWatch 2004 safety summary, including links to the Dear Healthcare Professional letter and the revised label, is available at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/SAFETY/2004/safety04.htm#Humira.

New fenofibrate formulation offers more convenience The FDA has approved a new formulation of fenofibrate (TriCor, Abbott Laboratories) tablets for the treatment of lipid disorders such as mixed dyslipidemia. This new formulation was developed using a nanoparticle technology so that fenofibrate can be taken without food. The drug previously had to be taken with food. The new fenofibrate tablets are offered in 145-mg and 48-mg dosage strengths.

Counterfeit Rx kickback scheme draws prison term Christopher Lamoreaux, 38, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and three years' probation for two counts of mail fraud for his part in a kickback scheme involving counterfeit drugs. He must also pay $115,278 in restitution to NuCare Pharmaceuticals. As president of NuCare, he received secret kickbacks from Albers Medical for negotiating a contract for his firm to purchase counterfeit and diverted drugs and to repackage those drugs for further sale. The drugs included Bextra and counterfeit Lipitor.

Norditropin approved for use in adults Somatropin (rDNA) (Norditropin, Novo Nordisk) has been OK'd for use in adults with severe growth hormone deficiency. Norditropin was previously approved for use in children. This approval makes it possible for children being treated with Norditropin for growth hormone deficiency to continue their treatment into adulthood and allows for the treatment of adults with conditions that result in growth hormone deficiency.