PHARMACY

Astellas bladder drug made available in U.S.

BY Alaric DeArment

NORTHBROOK, Ill. — The U.S. subsidiary of Japanese drug maker Astellas Pharma has made a drug for overactive bladder available in U.S. pharmacies, the company said.

Astellas Pharma US announced the availability of Myrbetriq (mirabegron) extended-release tablets. The drug is used to treat OAB with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency and urinary frequency. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug on June 28, 2012.

"The availability of Myrbetriq marks an important milestone in our ongoing commitment to urology," Astellas SVP sales and marketing Jim Robinson said. "We are pleased to now be able to provide a portfolio of treatment options for those living with overactive bladder."


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PHARMACY

Sanofi Pasteur presents influenza vaccine trial data

BY Alaric DeArment

SWIFTWATER, Pa. — Sanofi Pasteur announced Monday the presentation of three clinical trials of an experimental influenza vaccine.

Sanofi Pasteur, French drug maker Sanofi’s vaccines division, presented an overview of phase-2 and phase-3 trials of its quadrivalent influenza vaccine at the first joint meeting of the Infectious Disease Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the HIV Medicine Association and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, an event called IDWeek, where the company announced that the Food and Drug Administration had accepted its regulatory approval application for its Fluzone quadrivalent vaccine. The vaccine is designed to prevent influenza A and B in patients ages 6 months and older.

"Rates of hospitalization and death from influenza B are higher than those seen with A (H1N1) and, overall, influenza B is a significant cause of absenteeism, clinic visits, hospitalizations and complications across all ages, but especially in children," Sanofi Pasteur senior director for U.S. scientific and medical affairs David Greenberg said. "Since two lineages of influenza type B circulate each season, public health officials have been challenged to predict which B virus to include in the vaccine to achieve the greatest effectiveness against circulating influenza strains. Due to increased vaccine production capacity in the U.S., we now have the ability to provide quadrivalent influenza vaccine to help protect against both lieges of B influenza and potentially provide a greater public health benefit from influenza immunization."


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Improved adherence, med management can reduce hospital re-admissions, healthcare group says

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Improving medication adherence may be the key to reducing hospital re-admission rates, according to a new issue brief by a health policy research organization.

NEHI issued the brief Friday, saying that incorporating medication adherence policies into discharge planning was important as earlier this month, hospitals began facing federal penalties for Medicare patients re-admitted for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia within 30 days of discharge. Hospital re-admissions cost the healthcare system $25 billion per year, while medication nonadherence costs $290 billion, according to NEHI research.

Successful new models of advanced discharge planning and transitional care, NEHI said, include accountability for medication-related tasks in which care coordinators own the medication-management process; teamwork to coordinate professionals inside and outside the hospital; medication reconciliation for medications patients might be taking that hospital staff don’t know about; direct engagement with patients and caregivers; and follow-ups with patients after discharge.

"Medication management and improved adherence are critical tools for lowering readmissions," NEHI executive director Valerie Fleischman said. "And new models of hospital discharge planning are showing the way."

Earlier this week, Walgreens announced WellTransitions, which brings together the retailer, hospitals and health systems in a coordinated care model designed to reduce re-admissions through MTM and improvements to adherence.


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