Sunday, March 1, 2009

Product Tidbits March 2009 Part 1

1. I tend to recommend the combination of a decongestant and guaifenesin for younger children if they are prone to recurrent ear or sinus infections. The product Entex was commonly available but not anymore. Let's talk about why it is difficult to get replacement products. The market place is in great flux. Combination products are made by generic manufacturers, which do not made them constantly. The products are made in batches and then shipped out. If there is low demand for a product, then less product is made. Thus the ability to get any one generic product at your pharmacy is highly variable. Manufacturers sell their products to wholesalers, who are actually responsible for supplying the products to the pharmacies. Pharmacies negotiate prices and products with various wholesalers. Next wholesalers will ship out products, usually to the pharmacy's warehouse. From there, when needed, the products are sent to the individual stores. Back to the main thread, a common substitute is Crantex liquid. Another substitute is Sitrex PD liquid, which is sugar free, alcohol free, and dye free. I just tasted some and I'd give it a 3/10.
2. I want to stress again that when people visit their doctor's office to remember to ask for coupons. Some are available only in doctor's offices. New coupons seem to come out quarterly.

3. AstraZeneca's Symbicort 160/4.5 (a combination product of an inhaled corticosteroid and a Long-acting bronchodilating agent (LABA)) was approved by the FDA on 2/27/09 for the maintenance (not acute) treatment of COPD.
4. 3/9/09 Merck announced it is purchasing ScheringPlough for $41 billion. Both companies are strong in the respiratory products field. Merck makes Singulair. ScheringPlough makes Clarinex, Clarinex-D 12 hour, Clarinex-D 24 hour, Avelox, Nasonex, Asmanex, Proventil HFA, and co-markets Foradil. I can see the synergy. For consumers, I doubt this friendly merger will translate into lower prices for their products.
5. Patients wanting to stop smoking may find that their insurance offers FREE help. Here's an example from Carolina Care Plan and the SuperWell QuitLine tobacco-cessation program. Here's another similar example, Greenville Health Systems offers the QuitSmart Smoking Cessation Program for $100. Another example, Michelin employees may participate FREE once a year in a qualified tobacco cessation program.

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