Current news of interest to pharmacists

The PEIA Task Force took another incremental step yesterday in its quest to “fix” the agency’s financial woes by formally receiving a 22-page report summarizing comments from 21 public hearings and more than 3,000 surveys.   Governor Jim Justice appointed the 29-member panel to come up with a solution to the health insurance program covering over 220,000 West Virginians.   Issues under consideration for change include increases in co-pays and deductibles, and/or reductions in benefits and coverage — as well as changes in prescription drug benefits.

FDA approves generic version of EpiPen drug while shortage continues.  The scarce availability of the emergency medicines, caused by manufacturing issues and local supply distributions, has been an issue for months, according to several news reports nationwide.   The shortage is critical for some families as children return to school this week without the medication.  Some schools require parents to supply the medication before classes begin and typically won’t accept expired versions.

On August 16 federal regulators approved the first generic version of EpiPen, touting the approval as part of its effort to protect against drug shortages.  The generic, which will be sold by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, can be substituted at the pharmacy counter for EpiPen, without a separate prescription.   But it may not launch soon enough for families searching for a supply now as Teva said the launch will be “in the coming months.”  An advocacy group recommended that the FDA allow the auto-injectors approved by the European Union to be imported into the U.S.

The Associated Press reports today that the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies conducted raids at a West Virginia home and two pharmacies as part of an investigation into pharmacy practices.    DEA spokesman Kevin McWilliams told The Dominion Post on Tuesday that Bruceton Pharmacy, American Rx Pharmacy and the Morgantown home have been searched.