PHARMACY

Cold and flu remedy sales on the rise at Meijer pharmacies

BY Brian Berk

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Cold and flu remedies purchased over the counter at Meijer pharmacies have increased 30% over recent weeks, a possible sign consumers bypassed getting their annual flu shot during this winter season.

"Flu viruses commonly peak in January and February. If you and your family have not gotten a flu shot, you can still get one," Meijer VP pharmacy operations Karen Mankowski said. "It's always better to get your flu shot earlier in the season, but there is no expiration date. Getting a vaccination now can only provide a better chance to protect yourself against the flu and help all of us stay healthier."

Under the Affordable Care Act, flu shots are free for consumers in most situations as a preventative service. At Meijer’s 230 pharmacies, customers don’t need to pay co-pay fees for a flu shot under most insurance plans. Walk-in service as available at Meijer locations with no appointment necessary.

In a recently published report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated influenza activity is on the rise and outpatient visits to the doctor are expected to increase in coming weeks. The flu shot is reportedly a good match for predominant circulating H1N1, H3N2 and B flu strains.

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PHARMACY

PhRMA names Duato new board chairman

BY David Salazar
WASHINGTON — The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America have announced Monday that Joaquin Duato, Johnson & Johnson’s worldwide chairman, pharmaceuticals, would be succeeding George Scangos, the outgoing CEO of Biogen, as the organization’s board chairman. 
 
“I am pleased to welcome Joaquin Duato as PhRMA board chairman and thank George Scangos for his leadership,” PhRMA president and CEO Stephen Ubl said."Through sustained investment in research and development, biopharmaceutical researchers and scientists have gained a better understanding of diseases and a greater ability to harness new scientific advances. Joaquin's focus on our industry's role in transforming lives will be crucial as we work with all stakeholders to make the health care system better and more responsive to the needs of patients."
 
Duato has been in his role at J&J since January 2011 and has been at the company for 28 years, working across its pharmaceutical and medical device business segments, holding regional chairman roles and leading local market businesses in various countries and regions. 
 
"In the words of Dr. Paul Janssen, 'the patients are waiting,’” Duato said. "Medicines are the best  — and only — hope for treating and curing the most devastating diseases. At a time of extraordinary advances in medical discovery, I look forward to leading PhRMA and ensuring patients have access to the treatments of today and the cures of tomorrow."
 

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Takeda to acquire Ariad Pharmaceuticals

BY David Salazar
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. And OSAKA, Japan — Takeda on Monday announced its plan to acquire Ariad Pharmaceuticals for approximately $5.2 billion. The boards of both companies unanimously approved the transaction, and the companies expect it to close by the end of February. 
 
“The acquisition of Ariad is a unique opportunity that will enable us to positively impact the lives of more patients worldwide, advance our strategic priorities and generate attractive returns for our shareholders,” Takeda president and CEO Christophe Weber said. “This is a very exciting time for Takeda as we will broaden our hematology portfolio and transform our global solid tumor franchise through the addition of two innovative targeted therapies. Opportunities to acquire such high-quality, complementary targeted therapies do not come often, and we are very excited about the potential for this transaction to benefit patients, our shareholders and other stakeholders.”
 
With the acquisition, Takeda adds to its portfolio two targeted therapies that could expand and enhance Takeda’s oncology portfolio, including brigatinib, an investigational drug product for a genetically defined subpopulation of non-small cell lung cancer, as well as iclusig, which could expand Takeda’s hematology franchise to include chronic myeloid leukemia. 
 
Takeda said the transaction would provide immediate revenue and offered a calendar year 2016 guidance that includes $170-$180 million, and it expects brigatinib to have potential peak annual sales of over $1 billion. Takeda said it would leverage Ariad’s research and development capabilities and platform as well, absorbing Ariad's R&D costs within its existing R&D budget. 
 
“This transaction is a great outcome for shareholders of Ariad and Takeda, Takeda chairman Alexander Denner said. "Both ARIAD and Takeda are passionate about helping cancer patients, and I believe the talent and resources of Takeda coupled with ARIAD’s pipeline and people will accelerate the development of cancer treatments. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the management team and everyone at ARIAD for their unrelenting dedication.”

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