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  1. The CVS Pharmacy along West Liberty Avenue in Dormont. By Patricia Sabatini / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Taking a stab at breaking the market dominance of Mylan’s EpiPen allergy shot, CVS Pharmacy announced it has begun selling a similar auto-injector at a fraction of the cost. The nation’s biggest drugstore chain said the generic version of Adrenaclick — a tiny EpiPen competitor — was priced at $109.99 per two-pack. That compares with $649.99 a pack for the EpiPen and $339.99 for the generic EpiPen that local drug giant Mylan launched last month, CVS said. “We recognized the urgent need for a less-expensive epinephrine auto-injector, and are proud to offer a low-cost option,” CVS said in a statement. The Rhode Island-based company has some 9,600 stores nationwide. The generic Adrenaclick, owned by Impax Laboratories in California, contains the same medication to counteract life-threatening allergic reactions as the EpiPen, but uses a slightly different delivery system. The brand-name version of Adrenaclick is no longer manufactured. A year ago, the device held a tiny 4 percent market share, according to Impax. Since then, its share has risen to around 9 percent amid growing outrage over the spiraling cost of the EpiPen, spokesman Mark Donohue said Thursday. CVS had been selling the device for around $200. Mr. Donohue said he couldn’t provide any projections for capturing additional market share at the lower price. Although the Impax device is assembled by hand, the company has been keeping up with demand, he said. “CVS will have product in all of their stores,” he said. Impax plans to automate the process by the end of this year or the beginning of 2018, he said. Mylan, which is run from executive offices in Cecil but is incorporated in the Netherlands, did not respond to emails seeking comment. South Park resident Jill Piel, who relies on auto-injectors to protect her 11-year-old son with peanut allergies, called CVS’s announcement great news for her family. She used to buy three boxes of EpiPens to have at school, at home and in her purse. Last summer, she “almost had a stroke” when her pharmacy told her each set would cost $500. Even though she’s never had to use one, the EpiPens have to be replaced annually because they expire. “I went home and broke down,” she said. “You need it. And at the time, I thought [EpiPen] was my only choice.” After doing some research into alternatives, she got her son’s allergist to write a prescription for the generic Adrenaclick, which cost her around $175 a box. “That was such a relief,” she said. She said CVS offering the two-pack for $110 was “more good news.” CVS said patients should speak with their health care provider about possibly switching to the generic Adrenaclick. “The provider can then write a prescription for ‘epinephrine auto-injector’ to ensure the lowest cost product is filled,” the company said. The $109.99 price tag applies to cash-paying customers and those covered by insurance, lowering their out-of-pocket costs, CVS said. Impax also offers a coupon program for qualifying patients that can cut the cost even more, the company said. Skyrocketing drug prices have become a growing concern among consumers and on Capitol Hill. As furor grew late last summer over the cost of the EpiPen, which has soared some 500 percent in recent years, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch was called to testify before a House committee hearing during which lawmakers blasted the company for what they considered corporate greed and price-gouging. In his first news conference as president-elect, Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked drug makers for their price hikes, saying they were “getting away with murder.” Mr. Trump’s comments immediately sent drug stocks lower, with Mylan shares losing $1.67 on Wednesday. Shares gave up another 51 cents Thursday, to close at $36.77. Patricia Sabatini: PSabatini@post-gazette.com; 412-263-3066. http://www.post-gazette.com/business/healthcare-business/2017/01/12/CVS-generic-competitor-to-EpiPen-sold-at-a-6th-the-price-Mylan-pittsburgh/stories/201701120177
  2. CVS pharmacies in Virginia will now offer drug overdose-reversal medication naloxone (commonly known as Narcan), the company and the state’s governor Terry McAuliffe announced on May 11. The medication, which can potentially save lives, will be available in CVS stores across Virginia without a prescription. “Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by expanding access to this medication in our Virginia pharmacies by the use of a physician’s standing order for patients without a prescription, we can help save lives,” said Tom Davis, RPh, vice president of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS Pharmacy. Davis also commended Virginia for fighting against drug abuse and addiction by now offering the medication. “Drug overdose is the number one cause of unnatural death in Virginia, and it has been for the past three years,” said Gov. McAuliffe. He also said drug overdoses kill more Virginians than motor vehicle accidents or firearms. About 1,000 residents of Virginia died of a drug overdose last year—more than 500 of the cases involved prescription opioids and 300 from heroin. McAuliffe said he welcomed the step by CVS to save peoples’ lives in his state. “So we know that this particular class of narcotic, which includes both prescription and illegal drugs, is the primary killer that we must confront if we are going to end this epidemic,” said the governor. “Prescription opioid and heroin overdoses are killing our citizens, and we need to use every tool we can to fight that epidemic,” said William Hazel, secretary for Virginia’s Health and Human Resources. “But having a drug like naloxone that can reverse a potentially fatal overdose is, quite literally, a life-saver. The more available it is, the more lives can be saved,” he added. Emergency responders are allowed to carry the life-saving drug, but Homeland Security Brian Moran says allowing ordinary citizens to have access to the medication can save more lives. “We allow and encourage our first responders to carry this life-saving drug, and to know how to use it,” said Secretary Moran. “But families and friends of people with addiction are often the actual first people to encounter a person who has overdosed. Making naloxone more easily available to them at drugstores like CVS is one step toward saving a life.” CVS also launched new digital resources on their website to help people learn more about drug abuse prevention. The company announced CVS pharmacies in 22 other states besides Virginia can dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription. How to Administer Narcan Nasal Spray Below is a video put together by the Boston Herald. Sarah Mackin, a program manager at the Boston Public Health Commission, explains the signs of someone who has taken an overdose and how to administer the Narcan nasal spray to hopefully save a life. Source: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2064248-cvs-pharmacies-throughout-virginia-will-offer-drug-overdose-reversal-medication-narcan-without-prescription/
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