PHARMACY

Abbott to acquire rights to chronic pain treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott is banking on a biotech drug in early-stage clinical trials to treat chronic pain, the drug company announced Thursday.

Abbott said it would acquire global rights to PanGenetics BV’s drug PG110, a monoclonal antibody that works by blocking nerve growth factor, which the body releases at sites of tissue damage and inflammation and plays a significant role in the transmission of pain signals through the nervous system. Abbott will pay PanGenetics $170 million upfront and milestone payments of up to $190 million.

“The goal for treatment of chronic pain continues to be potent, long-lasting analgesia that is tolerable for patients without the potential for dependence and abuse,” Abbott SVP global research and development John Leonard said in a statement. “NGF blockers have demonstrated the potential to address all of these needs, making them a promising treatment for chronic pain.”

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Sanofi Pasteur releases data on H1N1 vaccine

BY Michael Johnsen

SWIFTWATER, Pa. Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-Aventis Group, on Wednesday announced the final analyses of data from clinical trials of the U.S. licensed influenza A(H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine in adults and children.

The data confirm the immunogenicity and safety profile of the vaccine, with no serious vaccine-related adverse events reported during the 42 days of follow-up in the two trials.

“These are extremely important data,” stated Wayne Pisano, president and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, “because they once again make clear not only the immunogenicity of the influenza A(H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, but also the fact that this vaccine has a safety profile similar to that typically observed with seasonal influenza vaccine in all age groups studied.”

The trials also confirm that one dose of influenza A(H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine induces a robust antibody response in adults — but two doses of vaccine are needed to assure a robust antibody response in children 9 years of age and younger. The two-dose regimen for these younger children is similar to the recommendations for seasonal influenza immunization in this age group.

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CVS Caremark, NCOA kick off Medicare Part D educational events

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark and the National Council on Aging announced on Thursday the kick-off of Medicare Part D educational events in an effort to urge older adults and their caregivers to review their Medicare Part D options to find the lowest cost plan to meet their needs.

“Plan review can seem cumbersome, but completing a plan comparison each year is an essential step toward saving,” stated Mitch Betses, VP retail pharmacy operations at CVS Caremark. “Tools like the Medicare Part D Calculator are designed to simplify the process to help older adults and their caregivers select a plan that provides them with the greatest value and peace of mind.”

A CVS/pharmacy analysis of more than 10,000 older Americans using the Medicare Part D Savings Calculator last year revealed plan participants could save an average of $612 in annual drug costs by just switching to their optimal Medicare Part D plan.

CVS/pharmacy is launching a campaign to assist seniors and their caregivers realize savings on 2010 prescription costs through education and assistance on plan comparison. Starting Thursday, CVS/pharmacy and the NCOA are offering Medicare Part D educational events throughout the annual enrollment period at senior centers nationwide. They are urging patients to consider the Three C’s when evaluating plans: Cost, Coverage and Convenience.

Customers can also go online at CVS.com/medicare to use the free Medicare Part D Savings Calculator. In addition, CVS pharmacists are available throughout the enrollment period to provide plan comparison in stores for those who would like assistance.

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