Pharmacy News Round-Up

Pharmacy School collaborates with hospital for residency program 

The doors to King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) will open for two postgraduate year one residents. The Ashland, Ky., hospital will allow pharmacy students newly graduated from the Marshall University School of Pharmacy to further develop their acute care clinical pharmacy practice skills.

The pharmacy residency slots are sponsored and supervised by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Resident Matching Program. Amber Oakes, of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy, and Jennifer Leslie, of the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, will be the first two residents in the new program.

The Marshall University School of Pharmacy expects to establish more residency programs with local institutions in the next few years.

Heroin reversal kits soon available UK Healthcare

Heroin/opiate overdose reversal kits will soon be given to people treated for overdoses at UK HealthCare. On Thursday, UK HealthCare will hold a news conference to make the announcement. The Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee will fund the program.

The kits will include two doses of Narcan, also known as Naloxone. Narcan is a drug that immediately reverses the effect of an overdose by physiologically blocking the effects of opiates.

The idea is that if someone begins to show signs of an overdose, someone with the victim can administer the Naloxone, or Narcan, and it almost immediately reverses the overdose effect.

340B and the Business of Pharmacy Workshop

Talyst has joined with the Intelligent Health Association (IHA) to present a half-day 340B and the Business of Pharmacy workshop in Chicago, IL. The workshop, which takes place on April 12, will bring together diverse experts from a variety of disciplines to lead the discussion of workshop topics.

The workshop will include a number of topics, including innovative ambulatory pharmacy models optimizing 340B opportunities, discussion around the emergence of specialty pharmacy as it relates to contract pharmacy and the 340B program, strategic implementation challenges regarding contract pharmacy and 340B compliance, 340B Audit and Compliance strategy and tactics to operate a HRSA complaint 340B program.

Presenters will include several major hospitals, including University of Kentucky, Accredo, a Specialty Pharmacy, Hall Render, a law firm exclusively focused on healthcare organizations and Talyst, a 340B Software and Services Suppliers.

PharMerica settles government fraud cases

PharMerica Corp., an operator of institutional pharmacies, has agreed to settle two federal healthcare fraud lawsuits, one of which accuses the Louisville-based company of taking kickbacks to help expand the misuse of an anti-seizure drug in nursing homes during an 11-year period.

The separate settlement agreements, both previously unreported, were disclosed in federal court filings in Abingdon, Va., and Milwaukee in December. Neither agreement has been finalized, and the terms of the settlements were not disclosed. PharMerica has 6,000 employees, 200 of them in Louisville.

Kentucky joins lawsuit against Omnicare

Kentucky has joined a multi-state and federal fraud lawsuit against Cincinnati-based Omnicare Inc., alleging that the company billed the state’s Medicaid program almost $6 million over nine years for drugs that were given to nursing home patients for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to papers filed by Attorney General Jack Conway in federal court in Abingdon, Va., Omnicare received millions of dollars in kickbacks from Abbott Laboratories for promoting the use of Depakote, an anti-seizure and mood-disorder drug, for dementia patients who were agitated or aggressive. The suit says Omnicare defrauded state Medicaid programs by billing for the illegally administered drugs.

The complaint is Conway’s third kickback case against Omnicare, which moved its headquarters from Covington in 2012.  The company paid $98 million in 2009 to settle claims it took kickbacks from drug makers Johnson & Johnson and IVAX. It paid $8.2 million in 2014 to settle claims it paid kickbacks to nursing homes in return for their pharmacy business. Abbott Labs settled the Virginia case by paying a $1.5 billion settlement in 2012, about $3 million of which went to Kentucky.

FDA approves first biosimilar drug

FDA approved the first biosimilar product for U.S. patients. FDA approved filgrastim-sndz (Zarxio—Sandoz) based on its similarity to Amgen’s Neupogen, which has been used to prevent infections during chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants since 1991.

Biological products are generally derived from living organisms. They can come from many sources, including humans, animals, microorganisms, or yeast. The approval of Zarxio is in accordance with a unanimous FDA advisory panel vote earlier this year to recommend that the agency approve a biosimilar version of Neupogen. Biosimilar drugs have been available in Europe and other countries for several years.

Advanced Care Scripts to provide specialty pharmacy services

Advanced Care Scripts (ACS), a leading specialty pharmacy and clinical services platform of Omnicare Specialty Care Group (SCG), is proud to be part of the limited distribution network for the Novartis drug Farydak® (panobinostat).

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Farydak capsules in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior regimens, including bortezomib and an immunomodulatory (IMiD) agent.

Farydak has been shown to extend the progression-free survival (PFS) benefit of the standard-of-care therapy in this patient population. Farydak is approved under an accelerated approval based on PFS.

PharMerica announces agreement with Cardinal Health

PharMerica Corporation a national provider of institutional, specialty home infusion, hospital and oncology pharmacy services, announced that it has entered into a new wholesale drug distribution agreement with Cardinal Health, Inc., an Ohio-based health care services company.

The new agreement will take effect on April 1, 2015 and extend through June 2018. As part of the agreement, Cardinal Health will assume responsibility for the sourcing and distribution of branded and generic pharmaceuticals for PharMerica.

U.S. prescription drug spending increased in 2014

New hepatitis C therapies with high price tags and the exploitation of loopholes for compounded medications drove a 13.1 percent increase in U.S. drug spending in 2014 – a rate not seen in more than a decade – according to new data released today in the 2014 Express Scripts Drug Trend Report.

Hepatitis C and compounded medications are responsible for more than half of the increase in overall spending. Excluding those two therapy classes, 2014 drug trend (the year-over-year increase in per capita drug spending) was 6.4 percent.

Specialty medications – biologic and other high cost treatments for complex conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and cancer – accounted for more than 31 percent of total drug spending in 2014.  The full report is available online at






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