PHARMACY

BioScrip’s sales, profits increase in Q4, FY2011

BY Alaric DeArment

ELMSFORD, N.Y. — Specialty pharmacy provider BioScrip had sales of $483.3 million in fourth quarter 2011 and $1.8 billion in fiscal year 2011, the company said Friday.

The company’s fourth-quarter sales marked an increase of $32.9 million, while the sales for the year were $200 million over fiscal year 2010. Meanwhile, the company had profits of $6.7 million for the quarter and $7.9 million for the year.

"We are pleased with our fourth quarter results, driven by solid organic growth and significant momentum in our key businesses," BioScrip president and CEO Rick Smith said. "Infusion revenue was strong on both a sequential and year-over-year basis, driven by the depth of our managed care contracts, growing patient census and the focused and productive efforts of our sales team and regional management who continue to focus on our targeted therapies."

Smith also highlighted the pending sale of BioScrip’s community specialty pharmacies to Walgreens, announced last month.

"With the pending sale of our community specialty pharmacies and centralized specialty and mail service pharmacy businesses, we are positioning BioScrip as a leaner company focused on those areas where we have key strengths, in-market awareness and offer distinct competitive advantages," Smith said. "This includes leveraging our geographic reach, building upon our reputation for clinical excellence, deepening our relationships with national and local managed care customers and strategically expanding our national infusion service footprint both organically and through tuck-in acquisitions."

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FDA committee to discuss anti-NGF drug class at meeting

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A Food and Drug Administration panel will meet Monday to discuss a class of drugs designed to treat chronic painful conditions that currently are under development and the safety issues possibly related to the drugs.

The FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee will discuss the anti-nerve growth drug class that is being developed for the treatment of such conditions as osteoarthritis, chronic lower back pain, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, post-herpetic neuralgia, chronic pancreatitis, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, vertebral fracture, thermal injury and cancer pain. The committee will be asked to determine whether reports of joint destruction represent a safety signal related to the anti-NGF class of drugs, and whether the risk benefit balance for these drugs favors continued development of the drugs as analgesics.

Drug makers participating in the meeting include Janssen, Pfizer and Regeneron.


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New report on tobacco use among young people released by surgeon general

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The U.S. surgeon general this week released a report on tobacco use among the nation’s youth.

"Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults" details the scope, health consequences and influences that lead to youth tobacco use and proven strategies that prevent its use, surgeon general Regina Benjamin said. The new report marks the first made by the surgeon general since 2009, when President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) into law.

To support the report, the surgeon general also released a guide that discusses was to address tobacco use among young people called "Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: We Can Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free." What’s more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health will launch the Surgeon General’s Video Challenge to engage youth and young adults in developing original videos that feature one or more of the report’s findings.

"The addictive power of nicotine makes tobacco use much more than a passing phase for most teens. We now know smoking causes immediate physical damage, some of which is permanent," Benjamin said. "Today, more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke. We don’t want our children to start something now that they won’t be able to change later in life."

The Food and Drug Administration praised the report’s release, saying it "not only documents the devastating consequences of tobacco use for our nation’s youth, but also represents a clarion call for bold action at every level of government to implement proven strategies to keep kids off tobacco."

"[The] FDA welcomes the authoritative and comprehensive scientific findings in the surgeon general’s report and will use these facts as we propose tobacco product regulations to protect our nation’s health and to conduct science-based education campaigns to inform the public — particularly young people — about the harmful ingredients in tobacco products with the goal to prevent initiation," FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg siad. "By applying the science contained in this and other surgeon general’s reports we can help make tobacco-related death and disease a part of America’s past, not its future."


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