PHARMACY

Biogen Idec to acquire Stromedix

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Drug maker Biogen Idec plans to spend up to more than $560 million to buy a company developing treatments for organ failure.

Biogen Idec announced that it would pay $75 million upfront, plus up to $487.5 million in milestone payments to acquire privately-owned biotech company Stromedix. Stromedix’s lead drug candidate is STX-100, a monoclonal antibody entering phase-2 trials as a potential treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that causes difficulty breathing due to scarring of the lungs and is almost always fatal.

"Fibrotic organ failure, and in particular IPF, is a terrible disease with a high mortality rate, and there are no effective treatments at this time," Biogen Idec EVP research and development Douglas Williams said. "We believe STX-100 has the potential to be a best-in-class therapy, and it is an excellent strategic fit with our focus on highly differentiated programs with the potential to make a real difference for patients."


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PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA urge Congress to reject proposal that discourages Tricare patients’ use of community pharmacies

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association are urging Congress to reject budget proposals that would limit pharmacy choice for Tricare beneficiaries.

The call to action from the two groups follows the release of President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget plans. A provision in the government’s FY 2013 budget would increase co-pays for prescription medications at community pharmacies for Tricare patients, but lower co-pays for prescriptions filled via mail order.

"Congress should reject, and the Obama administration should drop, short-sighted policies that would penalize Tricare beneficiaries accessing essential health services provided at community pharmacies," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey said in a joint statement. "A greater reliance on mail-order pharmacies will circumvent proven community pharmacy-provided services that have demonstrated savings by encouraging the utilization of more affordable medicines, detecting chronic illness early, and increasing patients’ proper utilization of medicine as prescribed."

"Similarly, saddling our nation’s service members and their families with higher out-of-pocket costs in this still-sluggish economy will reduce their access to life-saving and cost-reducing healthcare services," they said. "Instead of hampering access to community pharmacy-provided services, the Administration should give Tricare beneficiaries a fair choice in their healthcare options."

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Winners of ‘Script Your Future’ Medication Adherence Challenge named

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The National Consumers League, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy have recognized five pharmacy schools for their public education efforts to help patients adhere to their medication routines.

The award recipients for the first-ever "Script Your Future" Medication Adherence Challenge were the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Harding University College of Pharmacy, Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy. The challenge, which builds on NCL’s Script Your Future campaign, is a coordinated initiative to engage student pharmacists in a public education effort on the importance of helping patients with chronic diseases take their medications as directed.

“The goal is to educate the next generation of pharmacists to take a proactive role in encouraging patients to follow the instructions for taking their medication through medication adherence education,” NCL executive director Sally Greenberg said.


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