PHARMACY

FDA approves COPD treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. The Food and Drug Administration has approved an inhaler for reducing the risks of exacerbations associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.

Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals announced the FDA’s approval of Spiriva HandiHaler (tiotropium bromide). The inhaler is already approved as a maintenance treatment for COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

“Exacerbations of COPD are serious events that can negatively impact the lives of patients,” University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine professor emeritus Donald Tashkin said. “People with COPD now have a once-daily treatment option that not only helps them manage the debilitating symptoms of COPD, but also can help them reduce the chance of an exacerbation.”

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PHARMACY

Roche, Ipsen note positive results in diabetes drug trial

BY Alaric DeArment

PARIS An investigational diabetes drug developed by Roche and Ipsen offers glycemic control comparable to that of an insulin produced by Sanofi-Aventis, according to results of two late-stage clinical trials announced Thursday.

An investigational diabetes drug developed by Roche and Ipsen offers glycemic control comparable to that of an insulin produced by Sanofi-Aventis, according to results of two late-stage clinical trials announced Thursday. Roche has disclosed results of the fourth and fifth phase 3 trials of an eight-trial program comparing taspoglutide with Sanofi’s Lantus (insulin glargine [rDNA origin]) and placebo in patients with Type 2 diabetes, indicating that taspoglutide lowered HbA1c levels in patients as effectively as Lantus.

One study, involving 1,049 patients, compared patients who took taspoglutide with those who took Lantus and metformin who had previously taken a combination of metformin and sulfonylurea but had failed to lower HbA1c levels. The other gave taspoglutide or placebo to 305 overweight or obese patients.

Earlier this month, Ipsen released results from two other trials in the program, indicating that taspoglutide provided better glycemic control than Merck & Co.’s Januvia (sitagliptin).

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Duane Reade gears up for H1N1 immunization program

BY Antoinette Alexander

Manhattan-based pharmacy retailer Duane Reade announced on Thursday plans for its H1N1 immunization program.

H1N1 immunization vaccines will be offered at select Duane Reade pharmacies in the near term, pending the release of the H1N1 vaccine by the New York City Dept. of Health. Customers also may sign up to receive mobile alerts that will inform them of specific Duane Reade store locations where the vaccine will be available, the retailer stated.

“We are very pleased that we will be able to provide this important public service to New Yorkers,” said Frank Scorpiniti, SVP pharmacy operations. “Duane Reade has long been a health-and-wellness destination for New Yorkers and we are confident that the recent improvements we have made to our operations better equip us to meet our customers’ needs as they face a variety of health concerns, including the H1N1 virus. Moreover, we have developed a strong working relationship with New York City’s health officials who recognize Duane Reade as a leading provider of health and wellness services for New Yorkers. This will allow us to procure and administer a sizeable number of vaccines and benefit the community at large.”

The cost to receive the H1N1 vaccine is $20. Customers who are New York Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries can receive influenza immunizations at Duane Reade as a covered benefit.

In addition, Duane Reade’s pharmacies are fully stocked with Tamiflu and Relenza. In collaboration with New York City health officials, Duane Reade will offer Tamiflu and Relenza at lower costs to those customers who are uninsured and underinsured.

In December 2008, New York became one of the most recent states to enact laws and regulations permitting pharmacists to administer vaccines. In an effort to adapt quickly and to prepare its organization for the H1N1 immunization program, Duane Reade collaborated with the American Pharmacists Association to certify a large number of its pharmacists to administer the H1N1 vaccine. 

For the most up-to-date information and exact store locations where New Yorkers can receive the H1N1 vaccination, visit Duane Reade’s Web site at www.duanereade.com/FluShots.aspx or call the customer service hotline at?1-866-DR-LOYAL (1-866-375-6925). Interested parties can text “flu” to 63103? and follow the instructions when prompted.

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