PHARMACY

Dendreon’s manufacturing expansion for Provenge OKed

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE — The Food and Drug Administration has approved biotech company Dendreon’s expansion of manufacturing capacity for an immunotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, Dendreon said Thursday.

The company said it would be able to increase the ability of Provenge (sipuleucel-T) manufactured at its plant in New Jersey by increasing the number of workstations to produce it from 12 to 48.

The treatment is designed to induce an immune response against prostatic acid phosphatase, an antigen present in most prostate cancers.

The company said it expects to have around 225 infusion centers prepared to treat their first patient by the end of the second quarter, and 500 by the end of the year.

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BioScrip reports Q4, full-year sales results

BY Alaric DeArment

ELMSFORD, N.Y. — Specialty pharmacy provider BioScrip had sales of $450.4 million in fourth quarter 2010 and $1.6 billion for the year as a whole, according to financial results released Friday.

Sales for the quarter were $108.8 million higher than in fourth quarter 2009, while sales for the fiscal year were $300 million higher than in fiscal year 2009. However, the company still had net losses of $67.1 million for the quarter and $69.1 million for the year.

“2010 was a challenging year for BioScrip,” the company’s president and CEO Rick Smith said. “During the year, revenue and margins were impacted by pricing concessions on various specialty drugs, reimbursement pressures, the new industrywide [average wholesale price] standard and the overall impact of the weak economic environment. As a result, we commenced a strategic assessment of our business lines and overhead structure to position BioScrip for the future.”

Highlights for the year included the acquisition of CHS, which Smith said bolstered the company’s position in infusion and home services.

“We believe there are significant opportunities for BioScrip to improve operating performance and cash-flow generation,” Smith said.

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FDA backs NCL’s medication adherence campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration is putting its weight behind a campaign by the National Consumers League to combat poor medication adherence.

According to an entry in The Federal Register, the agency is awarding a $40,000 grant for the year to the NCL, as well as the possibility of additional $40,000 grants next year and the year after, to fund the organization’s national campaign to bring together retail pharmacy chains, healthcare professionals, insurance companies, drug companies, health information technology companies, businesses, labor unions, government agencies and others in order to target patients with chronic disease states and healthcare practitioners.

In addition to putting patients at risk, poor medication adherence is estimated to cost the economy $290 billion per year, according to the entry.

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