Monday, October 31, 2005

Roche suspends Tamiflu delivery to Canadian pharmacists

From the Brandon Sun:
Swiss drug giant Hoffman-La Roche moved to temporarily suspend pharmacy sales of its drug Tamiflu in Canada on Tuesday to conserve stocks as flu season nears.

It also issued a companywide directive that supplies of the drug destined for the public market worldwide should be prioritized for use as treatment for seasonal flu. ...more

Emergency contraceptives now more available

From the Nunasiaq News:
Women in Nunavut have new levels of access to emergency contraceptives, commonly known as the “morning after” pill.

If taken within 72 hours after sex, emergency contraceptives can cut the risk of pregnancy by as much as 89 per cent.

Health Canada announced that women across the country would be able to get emergency contraceptives without a doctor’s prescription in the spring of 2004. The drugs rolled out slowly across Canada as pharmacists received special training so they could dispense the pill safely. ...more

West faces barriers in restricting meth ingredients

From the Edmonton Sun:
Getting the western provinces and territories to agree on a plan to restrict sales of cold medicine used to make crystal meth hasn’t been as easy as planned, says Saskatchewan’s new minister for addiction services.

In June, western Canadian politicians at a conference called by Premier Lorne Calvert agreed to come up with a plan by Oct. 1 to put restrictions on the sale of medicines containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Both are used in making the highly addictive crystal methamphetamine.

Canadian drug market lags

The daily publicity over importing prescription drugs from Canada has quieted this year, but cheap drugs from Canada are still bought and sold in Sacramento.

A small storefront on Arden Way that's linked to a pharmacy in Winnipeg has processed 5,500 prescriptions since it opened 18 months ago. At least two other outlets still help local folks buy inexpensive medicine from Canada. ...more

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Prescription pipeline from Canada steadily drying up

From Florida Today:
Charles Barker, 75, comes to Melbourne every few weeks to pick up his mail-order prescription medications.

Parker gets them from Canada to save more than $300 a month. He lived in Palm Bay for more than 50 years but is moving to the Panhandle.

When he checked his post office box recently, though, he didn't get his three-month supply of glaucoma medicine. Instead, he found a letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration saying his medicine had been confiscated. ...more

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Canada to increase antiviral stockpile with more Tamiflu, other drugs

From the Canadian Press:
Canada will be increasing its stockpile of antiviral drugs to protect against a possible flu pandemic, with additional purchases of Tamiflu and new purchases of the drug Relenza, the country's chief medical officer of health said Tuesday.

Dr. David Butler-Jones told The Canadian Press some provinces have intentions to buy an additional five million pills - or 500,000 treatment courses - of the drug oseltamivir, sold as Tamiflu, over the next two fiscal years. ...more

No plan yet on crystal meth ingredients

From CBC Saskatchewan:
In June, Western Canadian politicians in Regina for a crystal-meth conference said they'd work out a plan to control ingredients used to make the street drug.

The deadline for coming up with specifics for restricting the sale of cold medications containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine was Oct. 1.

However, weeks after that date there's still no agreement. ...more

Tamiflu sales temporarily on hold in Canada

From CTV News:
A higher-than-normal increase in demand has forced the Canadian drug maker of Tamiflu to temporarily pull it off the market, amid growing concerns over an imminent flu pandemic.

Oseltamivir, sold as Tamiflu, is an antiviral medication that is widely considered to be the best defence against the spread of a bird flu pandemic.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Diet drug may go over the counter

From Newsday (NY):
Drugstore shelves are brimming with shakes, herbs and other products to facilitate weight loss — but the vast majority of them have not been shown to work. It's possible that a proven medication that helps modestly with weight loss may join their ranks next year.

The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has asked the Food and Drug Administration for permission to sell a low-dose version of its diet drug Xenical over the counter. If approved, Xenical would be the first weight loss medication to make the switch from prescription to nonprescription status. ...more

Important Safety Information on Flomax (tamsulosin) and Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS)

From Health Canada:
This communication is to inform you of a surgical condition termed Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS)1 that has been observed during phacoemulsification cataract surgery in some patients currently or recently treated with alpha -1 blocker therapy. This variant of small pupil syndrome is characterised by the combination of a flaccid iris that billows in response to intraoperative irrigation currents, progressive intraoperative miosis despite preoperative dilation with standard mydriatic drugs, and potential prolapse of the iris toward the phacoemulsification incisions. ...more

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Key Nevada lawmakers push Canadian drug plan

From the Las Vegas Sun:
Two lawmakers who had key roles in developing a new state law to let Nevadans buy lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada have urged the attorney general's office to produce an opinion that doesn't undercut the law.

In a letter to Attorney General Brian Sandoval, Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, and Sen. Joe Heck, R-Henderson, said the opinion should reflect state lawmakers' intent to help Nevadans get "safe prescription drugs at fair prices." ...more

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pharmacists lead the charge

From 24 Hours Vancouver:
The provincial New Democrats and Liberals don't agree on much. In fact, you don't even want to be in the same room with them if the issue of privatization or labour relations comes up.

But both sides of the house seem to agree tobacco sales should be banned in pharmacies ...more

Plenty of anti-viral drugs in storage

From the Ottawa Sun:
The federal Public Health Agency has stockpiled 23 million doses of an anti-viral drug as part of its overall preparedness plan against the next pandemic breakout.

"One of the activities of preparing for the next pandemic is creating a national anti-viral stockpile ... and the stockpile is of the brand name Tamiflu," said agency spokesman Aggie Adamczyk yesterday. ...more

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bill would open door to Canadian imports

From the Gazette (MD):
Government officials, banking on millions in possible savings, took steps this week to allow county employees to buy cheaper medications from Canada.

On Tuesday, the County Council introduced legislation that would direct the county’s Department of Human Resources to offer a prescription drug benefit that would be supplied by ‘‘domestic or foreign pharmacy benefit managers.” ...more

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Some asthma drugs used improperly may increase risk of death: Health Canada

From the Canadian Press:
A class of asthma drugs known as long-acting beta-2 agonists may increase the risk of death if used improperly, Health Canada warned Tuesday.

The drugs are prescribed to prevent asthma symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath and cough.

Based on data from a large patient trial, Health Canada said the danger of asthma-related death may be greater in patients taking long-acting beta-2 agonists without using inhaled corticosteroids at the same time. ...more

The Globe and Mail: Katz writing new prescription for success

From the Globe and Mail:
Drug-store retailer Katz Group Canada Ltd. is fixing for a fight with industry top dog Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. by borrowing a page from the Shoppers book on merchandising.

Katz is trying to simplify its grab bag of chains, which operate under Pharma Plus, Rexall and other banners, and wants to make the Rexall brand the unifying force for its network of about 1,900 pharmacies. ...more

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Safety information about a class of asthma drugs known as long-acting beta-2 agonists

From Health Canada:
Health Canada is advising Canadians of the possible increased risks of asthma-related deaths associated with the use of a class of asthma drugs known as long-acting beta-2 agonists. Further, Health Canada is reminding Canadians of the recommended uses of long-acting beta-2 agonists.

The asthma medications are salmeterol, which is sold under the brand name Serevent; formoterol, sold as Foradil and Oxeze; as well as two combination products containing salmeterol or formoterol in addition to an inhaled corticosteroid. The combination product with salmeterol is sold as Advair, while the formoterol product is sold as Symbicort. ...more

Few are using I-SaveRx for prescriptions

From the Bloomington (Ill.) Pantagraph:
A controversial plan to connect Illinoisans with low-priced prescription drugs from outside of the United States has not drawn huge numbers of participants.

But, on the eve of the first anniversary of the I-SaveRx program, Gov. Rod Blagojevich deemed the program a success. ...more

Sunday, October 02, 2005

India co. to sell generic drugs in Canada

From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
India's largest drug company announced Thursday it was entering the Canadian generic drug market with the launch of a subsidiary called Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. said the firm already had regulatory approval to sell eight products and four others were awaiting approval. ...more

Sask. tops in prescriptions

From the Regina Leader Post:
Saskatchewan families are the biggest spenders when it comes to out-of-pocket prescription drug purchases, according to a Statistics Canada study.

The study looked at household spending on prescription drugs between 1992 and 2002. Saskatchewan families spent an average of $415 on medications in 2002, the highest in Canada. < href="">...more

New pandemic flu drug formulas gathering dust on shelves for lack of funds

From the Canadian Press:
Formulas for new, inexpensive influenza drugs that could expand the world's tiny arsenal of weapons against pandemic flu are gathering dust because the pharmaceutical industry isn't interested in developing them, scientists say.

They believe governments should fund the testing and development of the drugs, side-stepping big pharma and bringing them to market as cheap generic medications. ...more

Canadian Rx costs will retain appeal

From the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press:

In every crowd that gathers to discuss Medicare's upcoming prescription drug benefit, there is one person who asks, "What about Canada?"

Seniors in Minnesota, especially, have used bus trips and Internet pharmacies to buy prescription drugs from north of the border — often saving 20 percent to 60 percent.

Insurers will begin selling the Medicare Part D plans on Saturday — offering much-awaited savings on U.S. drugs. But analysts Thursday said Canadian drugs may still be cheaper and predicted that many seniors will stick with the imports. ...more

Counterfeit Viagra bust supplies ammo for online pharmacy critics

From the National Post:
The case of an online pharmacy accused of selling bootleg Viagra to Americans is a prime example of why Canada should shut down the country's Internet drug-dispensing business, critics of the industry said Wednesday.

Online pharmacists, on the other hand, said the bust announced this week proves the system works. ...more

Plan for imported prescription drugs put on hold

From the Las Vegas SUN:
Nevada's plan to allow residents to buy lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada has hit a snag that could stop the program from taking effect.

The program approved by the Legislature this year has been put on hold while officials await an attorney general's opinion, which will determine if it goes forward.

At issue is a section of the new drug law that says a Canadian pharmacy shall not sell to a Nevada resident a drug that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. ...more

Forget SARS, West Nile, Ebola and avian flu. The real epidemic is fear.

From Macleans:
Gregory Fields is a pharmaceutical maverick. He calls his company, Canadian Drug Delivery, based in Nanaimo, B.C., an "online pharmacy intermediary," which means, if you're looking for the best price on medication -- anything from Amoxicillan to Zoloft -- Fields will comb the globe to find it and have it shipped to your home. In some cases, you won't even need a prescription. Suddenly, business has exploded, and it's all thanks to one pill -- an antiviral called Tamiflu that's selling like candy. ...more

New prescription tracking system unveiled

From the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:
The Saskatchewan government is rolling out a program that gives doctors and pharmacists access to the complete prescription-drug histories of their patients.

The $7- million tracking system comes out of an inquest into overdose death of Darcy Dean Ironchild about five years ago. ...more

Watch move to more over-the-counter drugs, pharmacists urge

Switching emergency contraception or cholesterol-lowering drugs to over-the-counter status carries potential risks and benefits, pharmacists say.

Health Canada is changing its rules for the emergency contraception drug levonorgestrel, also known as Plan B, to allow women to access the drug from a pharmacist without a prescription. ...more

Important Safety Information on Strattera (atomoxetine hydrochloride) and the potential for behavioral and emotional changes, including risk of self-harm

From Health Canada:
For the public...
For health professionals...

Pharmacists becoming proactive with new Meth Watch Program

From the Kenora (Ont.) Daily Miner and News:
Pharmacists are on the look out for makers of methamphetamine.

On his first stop on an Ontario information tour, Marc Kealey, chief executive officer of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, said Tuesday that pharmacists throughout Ontario are being trained to watch for people buying excessive amounts of ingredients used to make crystal meth.

“Most of the ingredients to make meth can be purchased at a pharmacy,” he said. “This is a family issue, that’s why it’s become so important to us.” ...more

Pharmacist charged after fake Viagra found

From the Globe and Mail:
An Ontario pharmacist is facing charges for allegedly selling bootleg Viagra.

The man and his two pharmacies are charged with 11 offences under the Criminal Code, the Food and Drugs Act, and the Customs Act.

The RCMP say the charges follow a six-month investigation, launched after border agents found two suspect shipments earlier this year. ...more