Magazine article Drug Topics

Drug Firm's Pact with PlanetRx Sends Some R.Ph.S into Orbit

Magazine article Drug Topics

Drug Firm's Pact with PlanetRx Sends Some R.Ph.S into Orbit

Article excerpt

A pharmaceutical manufacturer's deal with an on-line drugstore has some Main Street pharmacies fuming. A new ParkeDavis program to promote Rezulin (troglitazone) to cash-paying patients is available exclusively through PlanetRx, a San Francisco-based Internet pharmacy Physicians are being wooed by Parke-Davis sales representatives to enroll their diabetes patients in the Rezulin Express program, and it is being promoted on the PlanetRx Web site.

"As a member of Rezulin Express, not only are you able to purchase Rezulin for a price significantly less than at a regular retail pharmacy, but you gain a lifelong source of support," PlanetRx Web site material states. "... you receive free HbAI testing, educational materials, diabetes updates and newsletters, appointment reminders for physician visits and lab tests, access to the exclusive Rezulin Express section of Diabetes.com, and access to a staff of pharmacists and diabetes educators 24 hours a day, seven days a week." Also included is a price comparison section. It lists the cost of a month's supply of 200-mg tablets, for example, at $74.40 for Rezulin Express members versus an average retail price of $99.69 based on an "independent survey of 96 large chain pharmacies."

Galen Jordre, executive v p. of the North Dakota Pharmaceutical Association, reported that retail pharmacy members in his state are concerned the program will hurt them and their patients and is a harbinger of things to come. "The general consensus is that it's kind of a slap at the retail pharmacy people who work with diabetes patients on a day-today basis," Jordre told Drug Topics. He said many of his community pharmacy members sold Rezulin for less than the prices listed for the chains and that the PlanetRx price was close to-and in some cases less than-the net price they're paying to acquire the Rx.

He also said several NDPhA members had written Lodewijk J. …

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