PHARMACY

FDA approves Gleevec for most common pediatric cancer

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a Novartis drug for treating leukemia in children.

The FDA said Friday that it approved Gleevec (imatinib) for treating children newly diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as Ph+ ALL.

ALL is the most common type of cancer in children, the FDA said, affecting about 2,900 children per year. In children with Ph+ ALL, a genetic abnormality causes proteins called tyrosine kinases to stimulate the bone marrow to make too many immature white blood cells, leaving less room for healthy white blood cells to fight infection.

"We are pleased that the number of cancer medications for children are on the rise," FDA office of Hematology and Oncology Products director Richard Pazdur said. "Today’s approval is the result of continuous interactions among the FDA, the Children’s Oncology Group and the National Cancer Institute to provide new and better treatments to American children with cancer."


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Dr. Reddy’s launches allergy drug

BY Alaric DeArment

HYDERABAD, India — Dr. Reddy’s Labs has launched a drug used for treating allergies, the generic drug maker said Friday.

The Indian drug maker announced the launch of desloratadine orally disintegrating tablets in the 2.5-mg and 5-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Merck’s Clarinex Reditabs and is available in unit-dose packages of 30.

The branded version of the drug had sales of about $5.3 million during the 12-month period that ended in November 2012, according to IMS Health.


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Ohio Northern University pharmacy students sponsor medication adherence events

BY Alaric DeArment

ADA, Ohio — Students at an Ohio pharmacy school are taking part in a nationwide effort to boost medication adherence.

Ohio Northern University announced that the school’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association — Academy of Student Pharmacists — had scheduled several events as part of the Medication Adherence Challenge, sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

The ONU APhA-ASP chapter will work with students and faculty from the university’s nursing program to consult and distribute information concerning medication adherence on Feb. 2 during the ONU Health Fair.

The group also will distribute information at the Ada, Ohio, Rite Aid store, as well as events at the Lima, Ohio, Rescue Mission and a local independent pharmacy.

The ONU chapter is focused on improving medication adherence at Allen County Health Partners in Lima through education, counseling, pill boxes, timers, refrigerator magnet reminders, calendar stickers, handouts, phone calls and text messages, the university said.


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