Issues of interest to pharmacists

FDA added EpiPen, EpiPen Jr, and the generic versions of those products from the maker Mylan to its list of drugs currently in shortage.  FDA called it an intermittent supply chain shortage dues to delays from Pfizer, Mylan’s manufacturing partner.  The issue was brought to regulators’ attention originally when allergy advocacy groups, including the Food Allergy Research and Education, found that more than 400 people in 45 states indicated that they had trouble getting prescriptions filled for these epinephrine autoinjectors.

An FDA spokesperson said pharmacists and patients can contact Mylan directly (800-RXMYLAN/1-800-796-9526) to locate EpiPens if they are experiencing any difficulties with supply.

Opioid-related nonresearch payments made to physicians in 2014 were associated with greater opioid prescribing in 2015, according to a research letter published online in JAMA Internal Medicine May 14.  All told, 7% of physicians who prescribed opioids under Medicare Part D received such payments, for a total of more than $9 million.   Physicians who received such payments had 9.3% more opioid claims in 2015 compared with those who did not receive payments.    Researchers found that 25,767 physicians who prescribed opioids received nonresearch payments.

INSYS Therapeutics, makers of fentanyl sublingual spray (Subsys) make payments totaling more than $4.5 million, followed by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA which was paid $869,155, and Jansen, which paid $854,251.