PHARMACY

Clinical trial results conclude Novartis’ MS drug yields ‘significant’ results

BY Alaric DeArment

BASEL, Switzerland Patients taking an investigational drug for multiple sclerosis experienced “significant” reductions in relapses and disability progression, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial released Wednesday.

Novartis said initial results of a phase 3 study of the oral MS drug FTY720 (fingolimod) reduced relapse rates by 54% to 60%, compared to placebo, and reduced disability progression by 30% to 32%.

The company said the reduction in relapses was greater than in patients taking interferon beta-1a, a standard of care. A biologic, interferon beta-1a is marketed in various forms under such brand names as Biogen Idec’s Avonex, Merck KGaA’s Rebif and Bayer HealthCare’s Betaseron.

“We are proud to have reached this critical milestone in the development of FTY720, a novel oral therapy that has the potential to transform the treatment of this ultimately disabling disease,” Novartis Pharma global head of development Trevor Mundel said in a statement.

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Rite Aid to open three convenient care clinics with hospital this fall

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid and Atlantic General Hospital and Health System on Tuesday announced the opening of three Atlantic ImmediCare clinics — two in Maryland and one in Delaware — that are slated to open this fall.

“The Atlantic ImmediCare clinics will complement the medication counseling and care provided by our pharmacists and provide the convenience of high-quality, affordable healthcare services to patients who won’t have to wait for an appointment to receive treatment for minor illnesses and get basic medical tests,” stated Robert Thompson, Rite Aid EVP pharmacy. “Knowing they will receive the same quality healthcare they would expect from any Atlantic General Health System provider is a reassurance to all our patients.”

The new clinic deal brings Rite Aid’s total number of convenient care clinics to 18 across five partners.

“This is an exciting partnership for Atlantic General Hospital, Rite Aid and our community in that our Atlantic ImmediCare relationship will provide expanded access and affordable primary care services throughout our region,” stated Michael Franklin, president and CEO of Atlantic General Hospital. “These clinics will supplement the primary care practices we already have in these communities and will be a lower cost option to other types of immediate care.  It also will provide an after-hours and weekend option for care other than the Emergency Room, which will potentially help lower the cost of health care in our region.”

At Atlantic ImmediCare, certified nurse practitioners will provide patients with care for common illnesses such as strep throat, ear infections, tick bites, flu, bladder infections, bronchitis and allergies, as well as school and employer physicals, laboratory tests, adult immunizations and health screenings.

Existing healthcare clinics at Rite Aid stores include:

  • Two MultiCare Express Clinics in Washington state;
  • Three Saint Alphonsus Express Care clinics in Boise, Idaho;
  • Nine Lindora Health Clinics in southern California; and
  • Three Sutter Express Care in the Sacramento, Calif. market.

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The Little Clinic president participates in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit

BY Antoinette Alexander

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. The Little Clinic president, Lisa Loscalzo, was among 10 female small business entrepreneurs selected to join the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit held recently in Aviara, Calif., as a winner of Fortune’s 10 most powerful women in small business initiative.

Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, held Sept. 14 to 16, brings together the country’s top women in business. This year’s theme was Betting on the Future — ideas about the key challenges (technological, geopolitical and social) that are facing our organizations and our world. The program is built around five pillars: leadership, innovation, finance and the economy, global connections and the common good.

Loscalzo was also selected to serve in a panel discussion on women in small business along with Karen Mills, chairman of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Sobbott, president of American Express Open. Warren Buffet introduced the panel.

The small business leaders were added to the conference this year as part of a new program targeting entrepreneurial women who are game changers, groundbreakers and innovators in their field.

Loscalzo co-founded The Little Clinic in 2003 and has overseen growth over the past two years. She has more than 20 years of experience in the health care industry in both long-term and acute care practice management and ancillary services.

The Little Clinic centers are currently located inside select Publix supermarkets in Georgia and Florida; Kroger stores in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan and Texas; King Soopers in Colorado; and Fry’s Food Stores in Arizona.

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