PHARMACY

Avella named distribution source for oral-liquid breast cancer drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PHOENIX — A deal that would make a specialty pharmacy a distribution source for an oral-liquid drug may benefit breast cancer patients who have trouble swallowing pills.

Avella Specialty Pharmacy announced Monday a deal with Dara BioSciences that would make a distribution source for Soltamox (tamoxifen citrate) oral solution in the United States. The drug is the only available oral liquid formulation of tamoxifen, previously available in pill form only.

"Making access easier for patients helps them stay on their therapy, which leads to better health outcomes," Avella president Keith Cook said. "Since our inception, we’ve taken great pride in the fact that all of our team members do what it takes to regularly provide the highest level of fully integrated pharmacy services to our patients and their providers."

A woman has a 1-in-8 chance of developing invasive breast cancer during her life, and a woman is diagnosed with the disease every three minutes, according to the American Cancer Society.

"A significant number of breast cancer patients may have difficulty swallowing pills," Dara CEO David Drutz said. "This may lead some patients to miss doses or discontinue therapy altogether."


 

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PHARMACY

Ontario Health Minister helps kick off Ontario’s flu shot campaign at Rexall Pharma Plus

BY Antoinette Alexander

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews on Monday received her flu shot from a Rexall Pharma Plus pharmacist, kicking off the annual Ontario flu vaccination campaign.

“Getting a flu shot for Ontarians will be as easy as visiting any Rexall Pharma Plus pharmacy,” stated Frank Scorpiniti, CEO of Rexall Pharma Plus. “With over 250 locations and 700 certified pharmacists in Ontario, Rexall Pharma Plus makes it easy to receive flu shots any time, any day, no appointment needed.”

As Ontarians gear up for another flu season, they are also ready to embrace this new offering. A recent survey commissioned by Rexall Pharma Plus found that 69% of Ontarians say that they would be equally or more likely to get a flu shot at a local pharmacy if they could.

“Today’s announcement highlights the value community pharmacy brings to improving convenient access to health care for Canadians,” Scorpiniti added. “The flu immunization program is an example of collaboration between community pharmacy and government, resulting in improved access, healthier communities and overall healthcare cost mitigation.”

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the flu affects 5% to 10% of Canadians each year. While the majority who become sick do recover, the flu results in an average of 20,000 hospitalizations and 4,000 to 8,000 deaths in Canada each year, the company stated.

Rexall Pharma Plus will offer flu shots in any store, any time, no appointment needed across Ontario when the flu vaccine becomes available from Public Health Ontario. Flu shots in pharmacies are available to all Ontarians over the age of 5 years old.

 

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Pfizer buying ADHD drug maker

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Pfizer is buying the maker of an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug for almost $700 million, Pfizer said Monday.

The drug maker announced that it would buy privately owned NextWave Pharmaceuticals, which makes the extended-release ADHD drug Quillivant XR (methylphenidate hydrochloride), which the Food and Drug Administration approved last month. The drug is expected to appear in pharmacies in January 2013.

Pfizer made an option payment of $20 million in second quarter 2012 as part of an option and merger agreement with NextWave and will pay $255 million to NextWave’s shareholders when the deal closes, with shareholders receiving additional drug-sales milestone payments of up to $425 million.

"This agreement demonstrates our focused expansion of the established products U.S. brands business to offer a diverse portfolio of high-quality medicines that meet patients’ needs," Pfizer Established Products Business Unit president and general manager Albert Bourla said. "By combining the advantages of Quillivant XR with Pfizer’s commercial expertise, we will be able to provide ADHD patients and their caregivers a new treatment option."


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