Hot off the press for October 24, 2005

October 24, 2005

Discriminatory pricing suit brings results Insulin cleared for use among children USP to reassess its Medicare formulary guidelines NQF issues new report on drug compliance ShopKo to be acquired by Sun Capital Partners Watson becomes distributor of generic OxyContin FDA gives update on influenza vaccine supply States protest contributions to drug plan

October 24, 2005

Discriminatory pricing suit brings results
The nearly 4,000 retail pharmacies that opted out of a class-action lawsuit against drug manufacturers for discriminatory pricing practices and went ahead with a suit of their own have reached a settlement and will be receiving funds from the defendants at year's end. However, the settlement, the terms of which are confidential, covers only the pharmacies' Sherman Act claims. These pharmacies will continue to sue the manufacturers on grounds that they violated the Robinson-Patman Act. That suit is pending in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. According to the plaintiffs' spokesman, Larry Braden, the settlement that the opt-out pharmacies will be receiving will exceed that of the funds the original class-action pharmacies have received on an average per-store basis. In addition, the opt-out pharmacies can stand to gain even more if their Robinson-Patman suit prevails. Back to top

Insulin cleared for use among children
Novo Nordisk's Levmir (insulin detemir [rDNA Origin] injection) has received approval for use in children. The product is a long-acting form of insulin that provides up to 24 hours of action and doesn't seem to have been associated with much weight gain in users. The Princeton, N.J., firm said it would launch the product for both adults and children in the next eight months. Back to top

USP to reassess its Medicare formulary guidelines
CMS has contracted with USP to review the model guidelines it has prepared on formulary development under the Medicare Modernization Act. As part of the agreement, USP is supposed to issue a final report to CMS by Jan. 30, 2006, on whether any new drugs should be added and whether any changes should be made to the guidelines in response to concerns by providers, PBMs, insurers, and other groups. USP will meet on Nov. 1 and 2 to begin the revision process. Back to top

NQF issues new report on drug compliance
The National Quality Forum has issued a report calling for a standardized set of performance measures to address patient nonadherence to their drug regimens. Health professionals who follow standardized practices can improve the level of drug compliance, claims the voluntary standard-setting organization. To check out the report, entitled Improving Use of Prescription Medications: A National Action Plan, go to