PHARMACY

Cincinnati study uses text messaging to increase teens’ compliance

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Many adolescents fail to take medications for chronic illnesses out of rebellion or sensitivity about personal appearance, according to the Associated Press, which reported Monday that doctors in Cincinnati have begun using text messages to remind their teenaged patients to take their medications to help control chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes or kidney disease.

Cincinnati doctor Maria Britto got the idea when she noticed that patients as young as 12 would bring their cell phones into the examination room and often type and read text messages as she examined them. Also, studies from the National Institutes of Health have shown that adolescent patients have a bad record in regards to medication adherence. Asthma’s record is particularly bad, with research suggesting as few as 30 percent of teenagers correctly take medication to prevent asthma attacks.

Pilot testing of the program recently began, and a larger study will begin later this year. Some participants have already started noticing a difference and taking their medication on time.

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PHARMACY

Ziopharm’s Palifosfamide receives orphan designation

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Ziopharm Oncology has received orphan drug approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Palifosfamide, for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma, according to published reports.

Ziopharm will receive seven years of exclusivity of marketing for the drug once it has been approved, as well as an accelerated review process, grant funding, tax benefits, and an exemption from other fees.

Ziopharm’s chief executive Jonathan Lewis said that the drug stands to bring in as much as $400 million in revenues annually in the U.S. alone once it is approved. “Developing drugs for rare diseases is going to become increasingly more important because more and more the way we define diseases is into smaller and smaller subsets,” said Lewis. “In addition, we are looking to develop this for other indications starting with sarcoma.”

The intravenous form of Palifosfamide is currently in phase II studies and the oral form is expected to enter Phase I studies in early 2009.

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PHARMACY

Delhaize banners offer discounted generics

BY DSN STAFF

LAS VEGAS Shoppers at several supermarket chains in the eastern U.S. can buy hundreds of generic drugs at a discount.

Belgian food retailer Delhaize Group is offering a generic drug discount program at several of its U.S. chains, including Nashville, Ga.-based Harveys Supermarkets, Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, Tampa, Fla.-based Sweetbay Supermarkets and Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Bros.

Participating stores offer 30-day and 90-day supplies of hundreds of generic drugs, though Harveys only offers 90-day supplies. Sweetbay offers more than 400 drugs, including the psychiatric drug haloperidol, thyroid hormone levothyroxine and respiratory drug albuterol, charging $4 for 30-day supplies and $10.99 for 90-day supplies.

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