PHARMACY

Bayer Schering Pharma completes patient enrollment for ROCKET AF study

BY Alaric DeArment

BARCELONA, Spain Bayer Schering Pharma has finished enrolling patients into its late-stage clinical trial of a drug for preventing complications of atrial fibrillation, the German drug maker announced Sunday.

Bayer said the 14,269-patient phase 3 study, called ROCKET AF, would compare the safety and efficacy of Xarelto (rivaroxaban) in 20 mg doses to warfarin as a way to prevent stroke and non-centrial nervous system systemic embolism in patients with AF.

“We are encouraged by the excellent progress of the ROCKET AF study in atrial fibrillation and look forward to the study results in 2010,” Bayer HealthCare chief medical officer Kemal Malik said in a statement.

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Study: Increased dosage of Plavix may not help patients with ACS

BY Alaric DeArment

PARIS Patients with acute coronary syndrome didn’t fare better when receiving increased doses of a popular cardiovascular drug than those receiving the standard dose, according to a new study.

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced Monday the results of the 25,087-patient CURRENT-OASIS 7 trial, designed to determine whether ACS patients taking Plavix (clopidogrel) plus aspirin benefited when taking 600 mg of the drug the first day, followed by 150 mg doses for the next six days and 75 mg doses for the remaining 22 days. The standard dosing regimen comprises a 300 mg dose on the first day, followed by 75 mg doses for the next 29 days.

Overall, patients taking the increased dosage did not experience a significant reduction in heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death after 30 days, but 70% of patients, who had received a type of heart surgery called percutaneous coronary intervention early on, did experience a 15% reduction in the risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death. Meanwhile, there was a 42% relative reduction in risk of blood clots forming around stents, metal mesh devices used to prop open narrowed arteries.

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CVS Caremark to offer free vaccines for unemployed

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark is offering 100,000 free seasonal flu shots to those who are unemployed as part of a nationwide flu vaccination effort, the company announced on Monday.

The program will include on-site flu clinics at One-Stop Career Center locations and distribution of vouchers for free flu shots at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic. One-Stop Career Centers offer tools and training to job seekers.

In addition to offering $3 million in free flu vaccinations for the unemployed, the company is offering several options for consumers to get a flu shot.

Beginning Sept. 1, seasonal flu shots will be available daily, without an appointment, at more than 500 MinuteClinic locations. Starting Sept. 15, more than 9,000 flu shot clinic events will be held in select CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide. Vaccinations are covered by more insurance plans.

Meanwhile, through its PBM, CVS Caremark will work with its employer clients during flu season to make it easier, more convenient and more affordable for their employees to get an annual flu vaccination. Employer clients can participate in a program that offers seasonal flu shots at no cost to their employees at MinuteClinic locations, flu shot clinic events held in select CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide or at employer on-site clinics.

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