PHARMACY

FDA approves first flu vaccine to treat four strains of virus

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved what it called the first flu vaccine to prevent four strains of the influenza virus.

The agency announced Wednesday the approval of MedImmune’s FluMist Quadrivalent, which contains two influenza A and two influenza B strains. The currently approved version of FluMist is trivalent, containing two influenza A strains and one B strain, as are the other FDA-approved vaccines. The FDA said that in any given year, there may be two influenza B strains, or the strain in the vaccine may not be the one circulating.

"Illness caused by influenza B virus affects children, particularly young and school-aged, more than any other population," FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research director Karen Midthun said. "A vaccine containing the four virus strains most likely to spread and cause illness during the influenza season offers an additional option to aid in influenza prevention efforts."


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Federal court upholds DEA action against Cardinal Health

BY Alaric DeArment

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal court has turned down Cardinal Health’s request for an injunction against the Drug Enforcement Administration’s suspension of the its ability to ship controlled medications from one of its distribution centers, the company said Wednesday.

Reggie Walton, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled against Cardinal’s request to enjoin the DEA from preventing the company from shipping controlled substances from the distribution center, in Lakeland, Fla.

Cardinal said it planned to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

"We have demonstrated a deep commitment to helping fight prescription drug abuse," a statement from Cardinal read. "We work hard to actively prevent drug diversion and have spent millions of dollars to build a system of advanced analytics and on anti-diversion specialists. We have stopped distribution to hundreds of pharmacies determined to pose an unreasonable risk of diversion. The majority of those pharmacies still maintain their DEA registrations to dispense controlled medicines."

The DEA suspended the Lakeland distribution center’s registration to distribute controlled substances earlier this month, alleging that four of the 2,500 retail pharmacies it serves dispensed prescriptions for them illegally and that the company failed to ensure that the drugs were not diverted, though Cardinal said the allegations were wrong.


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Publix to open pharmacy at Moffitt Cancer Center

BY Allison Cerra

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix will open an expanded access, full-service retail pharmacy at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., on July 2.

Currently, Moffitt’s retail pharmacy offers specialized convenience to patients treated at Moffitt on an outpatient basis, Moffitt employees and their dependents, and other cancer center visitors, Moffitt said. The Publix pharmacy at Moffitt will continue to provide excellent customer service to patients and will be able to expand services including:

  • Pickup of prescriptions at their neighborhood Publix pharmacy;

  • Ease of refilling prescriptions at multiple convenient locations;

  • Mail-order capability;

  • Electronic routing of prescriptions to desired neighborhood Publix pharmacy locations; and

  • Expanded hours through their neighborhood Publix pharmacy and the Publix pharmacy at Moffitt.

“Publix pharmacies have been dedicated to the health and wellness needs of our customers and their families,” Publix VP pharmacy operations Fred Ottolino said. “The opportunity to bring our level of customer care to patients of Moffitt Cancer Center not only allows us to meet their immediate needs, but also to build long-term relationships with our customers as they return home.”

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