Article Date: 10/1/2003

Practice Pulse
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

MAIL-ORDER COMPANIES PUT TO THE TEST
Vistakon Says Rx Verification Works

According to Vistakon, a recent study proves the effectiveness of the company's prescription verification agreements with mail-order and Internet-based contact lens sellers. For the study, which was sponsored by Vistakon, 422 purchase attempts were made without valid prescriptions for various manufacturers' contact lenses. Mail-order and Internet companies filled only 8% of the invalid prescriptions for Vistakon lenses, compared with fill rates ranging from 89% to 96% for other manufacturers' contact lenses.

The study concludes that Vistakon's success results from the prescription verification requirements that the manufacturer has in place for its products. Purchases were made from the five largest mail-order companies, which represent 90% of the mail-order volume. The study employed testers who placed the orders for the contact lenses. The testers work for an independent company that specializes in investigations.

To remove any regional bias, 11 doctors from 10 states participated in the study. When contacted for verification, the study instructed each doctor to indicate that the prescription had expired or that the customer was "not my patient."

Inspire Ok'd to File NDA for Dry Eye Treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for filing Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s New Drug Application (NDA) for diquafosol tetrasodium ophthalmic solution for the treatment of dry eye.

In its Filing Review Letter, the FDA stated that it identified no potential filing review issues during the 60-day preliminary review period. Diquafosol stimulates tear production.

Apply for OGS Grants

The Optometric Glaucoma Society (OGS) has announced the application period for its first round of annual research grants, which are intended for non-established researchers in glaucoma who don't have indepen dent funding. The grants are meant to serve as initial funding for projects that may otherwise not qualify for traditional funding.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available and all areas of research related to glaucoma may be funded. Complete the application and find out about travel awards online at www.optometricglaucomasociety.org.

Mark Davis (pictured at left) finds that blind and visually impaired "challenge recreation" participants gain renewed mastery of their daily lives. His non-profit Foresight Ski Guides, Inc., of Denver, aims to introduce downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and even snowshoeing, to the visually impaired at world-class Colorado resorts (Foresight also helps with lodging and airport pickup). This and two other similar posters, created pro bono by McClain Finlan Advertising, are targeted at sighted friends, families and supporters of those who might benefit from this service. For a set of Foresight Ski Guides posters for your office, call (866) 860-0972 or e-mail your request to info@foresightskiguides.org.

New Comfort Drops
CIBA Introduces Blink-Activated AQuify Drops

CIBA Vision has introduced its new blink-activated lens drop, AQuify, that replicates the behavior of the body's natural tears to keep lenses moist, proving long-lasting comfort to wearers of all types of contact lenses. AQuify contains sodium hyaluronate and according to CIBA, with each blink of the eye, actually becomes more spreadable. Also, because AQuify has a naturally disappearing preservative, CIBA says that even those suffering from preservative allergies or who have extra sensitive eyes can use it to help keep their eyes moist.

EARN CREDIT ONLINE
BCI and VE Launch CE Site

Boucher Communications, Inc. (BCI), publisher of Optometric Management, and International Vision Expo (VE) launched a joint online continuing education (CE) program recently at a conference in Las Vegas.

Beginning this fall, the BCI site VisionCareCE.com will include exclusive COPE- and ABO-approved distance learning courses provided by Vision Expo educators. The site allows optometrists and opticians to take the courses, get results and, in most cases, instantly print a certificate of credit. The site also features a personalized "My CE" page to keep track of courses and credits, view CE requirements and more. Visit the site for the CE courses available now.

Choose the Best Treatment for a Common Condition
By Kirk L. Smick, O.D., Chairman, CE, AOA

The role of dry eye disease in our practices continues to increase as more people feel its affects because of a variety of circumstances (more women entering menopause, computer use, etc.).

Each dry eye patient requires individual treatment, not a "one-size-fits-all" attitude. We should look to tear brands that offer: 1) a variety of options, 2) quality ingredients and 3) the best outcome. We must consider tears that provide all levels of dry eye relief. The availability of preservative and preservative-free formulas affords us the opportunity to best treat those patients who at times can be deems an "annoyance" yet are just struggling with a frustrating condition, and more importantly, will remain loyal to us if we can make them more comfortable.

The role of conventional chemical preservatives in tears continues to spark debate. It's becoming more apparent that there are cytotoxic effects associated with them, while potentially causing extensive superficial epithelial erosion, BAK or benzalkonium chloride, can be toxic to the ocular surface. This point becomes important in more moderate or severe dry eye. The more severe the condition, the more susceptible the patient is to the harmful effects of preservatives.

Formulations without preservatives or with non-toxic oxidizing preservatives such as sodium chlorite or Purite, should be considered in every dry eye patient, especially those who have moderate to severe dry eye. Purite causes little membrane disruption and has virtually no cytotoxicity.

Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) is the current best-selling artificial tear active ingredient on the market in the United States. CMC is formulated in several viscosities and continues to grow in popularity. Unique to U.S. active ingredients, it is a polyanionic substance, rich in negative charges, which allows for better ocular surface protection. This technology provides mucoadhesion as well as protection and comfort. Its performance acts independently of the ocular pH level.

The prevalence of dry eye will only continue to grow. Our patients will continue to return if we can help them alleviate the daily symptoms associated with the condition.

O.D. NOTEBOOK
PEOPLE & PROMOTIONS

Carl Zeiss names manager. Carl Zeiss Optical, Inc. announced the addition of Mike Franz as marketing manager. Franz will be responsible for creating, developing and executing the marketing department's strategies and plans.

Lee joins Inspire board. Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has appointed Kenneth B. Lee, Jr. to its Board of Directors.

OSI appoints Potter to board. Ocular Sciences' Board of Directors has appointed Mary Jo Potter to its ranks.

Rodenstock welcomes Lindstrom. Eric Lindstrom has been named the territory sales manager in the northeast for Rodenstock North America.

Reagan fills new role at Transitions. Michele Reagan has joined Transitions Optical in the newly established role of marketing manager, major accounts, North America.

Prio announces promotion. Rick Mark has been promoted to vice president of sales for Prio Corporation.

Hoya names new marketing VP. Steven Koufos has been named vice president of marketing for Hoya Vision Care North America.

COMPANY NEWS

CIBA expands Night & Day availability. CIBA Vision has doubled production of its Night & Day contact lenses so that practitioners can more aggressively refit patients in these lenses.

Wise donates ophthalmic lenses. Wise Optical has donated more than $50,000 in ophthalmic lenses to the New York City College of Technology's Department of Vision Care Technology.

Can't find a past OM article? Check the archive section of our Web site, www.optometricmanagement.com.

NEW APPROVALS
FDA Approves Generic Alphagan

The FDA recently approved Alcon affiliate Falcon Pharmaceutical's generic brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution 0.2%, which is the therapeutic equivalent to Alphagan (Allergan, Inc.) and is indicated for lowering intraocular pressure in patients who have open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The drug is available immediately and comes in the Alcon Drop-tainer dispenser in 5mL, 10mL and 15mL. It will also have a 24-month shelf life.

Patent Proceedings
Vistakon Makes Preemptive Move, B&L Gains German Support

Vistakon has filed for a declaratory judgement against CIBA Vision regarding Vistakon's new Acuvue Advance contact lens, which is currently awaiting FDA clearance.

Says Vistakon spokesperson Marc Monseau, "We believe that when launched, this lens will set a new standard by offering the comfort people expect from Acuvue 2 in a unique formulation that allows for greater oxygen permeability."

Vistakon says that it is confident that the technology behind its Acuvue Advance contact lens falls outside the scope of CIBA's patents and has asked the Court to affirm that Acuvue Advance will not infringe CIBA Vision's patent portfolio by seeking a declaratory judgement.

According to Scott Meece, CIBA Vision vice president and general counsel, Vistakon's actions are clearly a litigation tactic intended to publicize its belated plans to enter the highly successful silicone hydrogel contact lens market. He said, "It's unfortunate that Vistakon elected to prematurely engage in litigation, rather than fully exploring a reasonable business resolution to the infringement of our patents."

A continuing battle

In other news, in response to Bausch & Lomb's challenge that a Novartis AG (parent company of CIBA Vision) patent claiming to cover extended wear contact lenses lacked novelty and was anticipated by an earlier B&L patent, the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich fully revoked Novartis's patent. According to B&L, it will immediately seek to once again sell its PureVision contact lenses in Germany. The company will now seek a stay of the German injunction and will ask the Irish court to stay Novartis patent proceeding against B&L in Ireland.

CE ACCREDITED COURSES
CooperVision Plans Fall Seminars for Education of Presbyopia

CooperVision has announced continuing education accredited seminars on presbyopia in support of its Frequency 55 multifocal contact lens. According to the company, the seminars will present the latest information on the correction of presbyopia and offer attendees CE credit at no charge.

"The correction of presbyopia remains one of the largest opportunities available to optometry today," says Nikki Iravani, O.D., of CooperVision.

The seminars are being planned in conjunction with the American Optometric Association's (AOA's) Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS) Educational Forum.

CooperVision has arranged 16 venues across the country and may schedule additional seminars in 2004. The company plans to begin the series of seminars on October 21 in Chicago. For information or to register to attend one of the seminars, contact the AOA CLCS at (800) 365-2219, ext. 137, or CooperVision marketing at (800) 538-7850.

 



Optometric Management, Issue: October 2003