Diplomat becomes distributor of recently approved cancer drug

Drug was approved in November

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat has become a distributor of a new cancer drug made by Genentech, Diplomat said Thursday.

The specialty pharmacy company said it had received a distribution contract for Gazyva (obinutuzumab) for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which received Food and Drug Administration approval on Nov. 1. CLL is a slowly advancing blood and bone marrow disease that, according to the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, will be diagnosed in 15,680 Americans this year and cause 4,580 deaths.

"We are pleased to partner with Genentech as a specialty pharmacy provider of Gazyva," Diplomat president Gary Kadlec said. "With our extensive clinical and industry experience with new and emerging drug therapies, we are committed to providing Gazyva according to Diplomat's high standards and industry-leading protocols, enabling patients to obtain the best outcomes possible."

The drug is administered intravenously in conjunction with chlorambucil, a chemotherapy drug also used to treat CLL. The drug's labeling includes a boxed warning, the highest-level warning a drug can carry, due to the risk of viral reactivation in patients with hepatitis B and the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, a rare disorder that damages the material covering and protecting nerves in the white matter of the brain.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story reported that Diplomat had joined a limited-distribution network for Gazyva, based on an erroneous statement in the specialty pharmacy's press release. Gazyva is an open-distribution drug for which Diplomat has been named a distributor. This version of the story corrects the error.

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