Saturday, October 30, 2010

Manufacturer recalls lot of cortisone skin treatment due to mould contamination

From the Winnipeg Free Press:
GlaxoSmithKline is voluntarily recalling one lot of its product Emo-Cort 2.5 per cent Lotion, a product used to treat eczema, dermatitis and other skin irritations, due to contamination.

GSK is asking wholesalers, pharmacies and hospitals to immediately stop selling Lot No. 5R6 of the hydrocortisone lotion.

Health Canada said in a release Friday that the recall follows a consumer complaint to the company regarding a brown substance in the product. Testing of samples of the lot showed the product has been contaminated with mould.

Because of the potential risk of local or more widespread infection from the mould to consumers with weakened immune systems, GSK has put all Emo-Cort products at its manufacturing facility on hold pending an investigation. ...more

Grapevine doctor defends using bargain IUDs

From WFAA (TX):
Commercials tout the Mirena-brand intrauterine device as one of the easiest long-term birth control devices on the market.

That's how one North Texas woman felt about her IUD — until the day she heard from her doctor's office, Women's Integrated Healthcare in Grapevine.

"The first thing she said to me was, 'The Mirena that I had inserted a year-and-a-half previous was purchased in Canada,'" said the patient, who prefers to remain anonymous. "When she told me that, I thought, 'That's wrong; that's really wrong to do that and potentially cause harm.'"

An FDA-approved Mirena IUD in the United States costs about $700 wholesale to physicians. But on the Internet, IUDs imported from Canada can be purchased for as little as $200.

Women's Integrated Healthcare charged the patient News 8 spoke to more than $1,800 for inserting the bargain-priced Canadian product. ...more

Approval of new drug heralds 'momentous' advance in stroke prevention

From the Montreal Gazette:
In what Canadian doctors are calling a "momentous" advance, Health Canada has approved the first anti-clotting drug for stroke prevention since the introduction of warfarin more than half a century ago.

Pradax, or dabigatran, is expected to change practice for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, or AF, a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disorder that causes the heart to quiver and beat chaotically. About a quarter-million Canadians suffer from AF, and the absolute numbers will grow as the population ages. One in four people over age 40 will develop AF, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

A Canadian-led international trial published this summer involving more than 18,000 patients from 44 countries found that dabigatran was superior to warfarin for reducing the risk of stroke, and also for reducing bleeding complications.

For the study, patients randomly received either dabigatran or warfarin. Two doses of dabigatran — 100 mg twice daily, or 150 mg twice daily — were tested. The higher dose of dabigatran reduced the risk of stroke by 34 per cent compared to warfarin. There was also a significant drop in the risk of bleeding into the brain, the most feared complication of warfarin. ...more

Natural product companies targeting kids’ market

From the Globe and Mail:
When Health Canada ruled in 2008 that children under age 6 should not be given over-the-counter cough and cold remedies, it probably didn’t realize it was creating a whole new market for medications aimed at kids.

Companies that use certain active ingredients in over-the-counter medications, such as dextromethorphan (used in cough remedies) and brompheniramine maleate (used in cold meds), now must carry labels indicating they are not to be given to children under age 6.

But the recent ruling, made because there is little proof that these products work in children and evidence they can cause rare side effects or lead to overdose, doesn’t apply to makers of natural or homeopathic medicine.

Now, many of those companies are rushing to fill the void and attract a following from confused parents looking for ways to help their sick children in the wake of Health Canada’s restrictions on traditional remedies.

The makers of COLD-FX, a Canadian natural health product designed to help boost the immune system to prevent or reduce cold and flu symptoms, are launching a clinical trial in hopes of potentially marketing their product to children. ...more

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nasal mist flu vaccine launched in Canada

From CTV News:
A nasal mist flu vaccine was launched in Canada on Thursday, giving an alternative to those who get squeamish by the very idea of a needle.

The nasal mist has been available in the United States for seven years, and now will be available without a prescription in pharmacies.

Dr. Earl Rubin, director of McGill Pediatric Infectious Diseases Residency Program, has been going to the U.S. for the last five years to get the vaccines for his children, who are deathly afraid of needles.

But he says the less intrusive nasal vaccine has other benefits as well.

"Studies have shown that the intra nasal live attenuated vaccine is more effective in children than the traditional intramuscular or killed vaccine," Rubin told CTV Montreal's Cindy Sherwin. ...more

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is there such a thing as a safe diet drug?

From the Globe and Mail:
A few years after it hit the market, the diet drug Meridia was being investigated by health authorities globally for links to more than two dozen deaths and hundreds of adverse reactions. But those authorities, including Health Canada, concluded that Meridia, the brand name of the drug sibutramine, was safe enough to remain on the market and be prescribed to treat obesity.

Seven years later, Abbott Laboratories, the company that sells Meridia, has voluntarily pulled it off the market in Canada and the U.S. after a major study published last month, funded by the company, found that it raises a patient’s risk of stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular death.

Two generic versions, called Apo-sibutramine and Nova-sibutramine, have also been pulled off Canadian shelves.

The study, which last more than three years, also found that patients lost, on average, less than 10 pounds on sibutramine, which acts on the serotonin system to make an individual feel full.

Abbott Laboratories stands by Meridia, maintaining that the benefits outweigh the risks as long as the appetite suppressant is given to people without pre-existing cardiovascular disease and patients are monitored closely for increased blood pressure or pulse rate.

However, some medical experts and advocates see Meridia as an example of deep-rooted problems in the drug-safety system that urgently need to be fixed. There is concern that such health issues could arise again, as other companies look to create new appetite-suppressing prescription drugs. ...more

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trade deal would include increased protection for brand-name drugs

From the National Post:
Canada’s pharmaceutical industry and the European Union have been quietly lobbying for changes that could give brand-name drugs several years more patent protection here — and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to Canadian medication costs annually.

The EU has reportedly proposed the measures be included in a landmark free-trade agreement now being negotiated between the jurisdictions, with the fifth round starting last week in Ottawa.

The changes would delay the entry of cheaper, generic copies of medication onto the market, but brand-name companies and some provinces say the measures are needed to restore fairness to the complex patent system, and generate more drug research in Canada. ...more

Pharmacy tobacco sales snuffed

From the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:
Saskatchewan pharmacies will stop selling tobacco products as of April 1, 2011, Health Minister Don McMorris said Monday.

McMorris released the province's tobacco reduction strategy as he opened a two-day symposium that brings together health officials from across Saskatchewan.

He later told reporters the government is delaying the ban on pharmacy tobacco sales by several months.

"A lot of pharmacies have to change the design of the store and we're giving them time to do that," McMorris told reporters Monday. "We had thought that we would be able to implement this by the first of January. That was tight for them. Not that (pharmacies) are opposed to the legislation, they just need time to make structural changes." ...more

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mention in Drugstore Canada

Canada Pharmacy News has been featured in the latest edition of Drugstore Canada. I will like to the online version shortly. To those of you who have found this site from the article - welcome! There has been a lack of posts lately but this will change this week. Look for daily updates starting this evening.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weight loss drug pulled from Canadian shelves

From the Montreal Gazette:
The prescription diet pill market in Canada just got slimmer.

The manufacturer of the weight-loss drug Meridia announced yesterday it is voluntarily pulling its product off the Canadian market, the same day the company withdrew its diet pill in the U.S. at the request of American drug regulators over an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in some people.

The move leaves Canadians looking for prescription weight loss drugs with just one possible option -orlistat, sold under the brand name Xenical, which prevents dietary fat from being absorbed by the intestines.

Meridia's removal comes seven years after Health Canada concluded in 2003, after a yearlong safety review, that the drug's benefits outweighed the risks.

The drug (sibutramine), which works on the brain to make people feel fuller, has already been pulled from markets in Europe and has faced questions in the U.S. since the consumer group Public Citizen petitioned the FDA unsuccessfully to have the drug banned in 2002. The group charged health regulators knew of the potential for heart problems before Meridia was introduced to the U.S. market in 1998. ...more