PHARMACY

Algeta inks deal with Bayer

BY Alaric DeArment

OSLO, Norway A Norwegian company that develops cancer drugs has signed a deal potentially worth nearly $1 billion to develop and commercialize a treatment for bone cancer.

Algeta announced last week an up to $800 million agreement with Bayer for Alpharadin, currently in late-stage clinical trials in men with hormone-refractory prostate cancer that has spread to the bone.

Under the agreement, Algeta will receive an upfront payment of $61 million, along with milestone payments related to development and sales, and have the option to co-promote Alpharadin with Bayer in the United States and share profits. Meanwhile, both companies will collaborate in developing the drug, with Bayer contributing a “substantial majority” of future development costs.

“This agreement is the culmination of an extensive process to establish and deliver the best possible commercialization strategy for Alpharadin,” Algeta CEO Andrew Kay said in a statement. “In Bayer, we have selected a world-class oncology company with a proven global track record of launching major cancer products.”

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FDA approves antihistamine Astepro

BY Michael Johnsen

SOMERSET, N.J. Meda Pharmaceuticals on Wednesday announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved its prescription antihistamine Astepro (azelastine HCl) nasal spray 0.15% for the treatment of the symptoms of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis.

According to Meda, Astepro is the first nasal antihistamine to offer convenient once-daily dosing.

“Seasonal and perennial allergy sufferers may benefit from Astepro nasal spray 0.15%, which is 50% more concentrated than original Astepro,” stated William Berger, clinical professor, Division of Allergy and Immunology, University of California. “Based on demonstrated improvement in nasal allergy symptoms, Astepro 0.15% is a good first-line therapy option for seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis patients suffering with nasal symptoms.”

“The approval of Astepro nasal spray 0.15% represents a significant milestone for Meda as we continue to expand and strengthen our allergy treatment franchise,” said Sharon Clarke, president and GM, Meda. “We believe Astepro nasal spray 0.15% can simplify the physician’s treatment decision for patients with seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis, and help patients who want rapid nasal symptom relief.”

The product will be available in pharmacies in early October.

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Walgreens, Take Care clinics to roll out flu shot initiative

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens is making it faster and easier to get a flu shot this season. The chain announced it will begin offering seasonal flu shots on Sept. 1 at more than 7,000 points of care nationwide, including nearly all of its stores in 50 states and almost 350 in-store Take Care clinics.

With more than 16,000 pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants licensed or certified to provide flu shots, Walgreens has the largest retail network of immunizers in the U.S. and can provide seasonal flu shots most hours its pharmacies and Take Care Clinics are open.

Beginning Sept. 8 through Sept. 30, all clinics and Walgreens pharmacies will have immunizing pharmacists or nurse practitioners on staff from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, offering shots on a walk-in basis or by appointment for $24.99. Shots are available outside those hours if an immunizing pharmacist or nurse practitioner is on duty. State age and health condition-related restrictions may apply.

Additionally, a new Walgreens survey found that more consumers (50%) plan to get a seasonal flu shot this year, up from 43% who say they got one last season. Additionally, 27% say they are more concerned about getting the flu than they were a year ago.

“With a heightened awareness around this flu season, we’ve assembled the resources to be the go-to source for flu prevention, as well as general health and wellness, in every community we serve,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “Walgreens was built on a long-standing history as a community pharmacy and retailer. Now, with our expansive network of health care professionals, we’re proud to also be a destination for trusted information and high quality, affordable health care.”

An integral part of the network includes Take Care Clinics at select Walgreens stores, which have board-certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants on staff seven days a week, including extended evening and weekend hours, to administer shots and other vaccines such as PPV (pneumonia). No appointment is necessary.

Seasonal flu shots cost $24.99 and Take Care Clinics are again offering the FluMist nasal spray as an alternative to the shot for $29.99. Shots may be covered by insurance plans as well as Medicare Part B. Patients are encouraged to check with their insurance provider for coverage details.

Walgreens also announced Aug. 31 that it’s providing $1 million worth of seasonal flu shots to uninsured adults. Shots will be distributed in the form of vouchers, which will go to eligible consumers who visit one of nine Wellness Tour bus locations in select markets across the continental U.S. Vouchers are available on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last.

For Walgreens store locations and pharmacy hours, call 1-800-WALGREENS or visit www.walgreens.com/flu, and for the nearest Take Care Clinic visit www.takecarehealth.com.

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