PHARMACY

FDA approves subcutaneous Actemra for rheumatoid arthritis

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new formulation of a drug made by Genentech for rheumatoid arthritis that can be injected into the skin.

Genentech announced the approval of a subcutaneous formulation of Actemra (tocilizumab) in adults for adults with moderate RA who have not found sufficient relief by taking such disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs as methotrexate. Like the intravenous formulation of Actemra, the new version can be used alone or with drugs like methotrexate.

"People with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis can suffer irreversible joint damage that may be prevented by earlier treatment with a medicine such as Actemra," Genentech chief medical officer and head of global product development Hal Barron said. "We’re pleased that these patients will now have the option of Actemra as a subcutaneous injection or an IV infusion."

 

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MedImpact Healthcare Systems names BioPlus a ‘ChoiceSpecialty’ provider

BY Alaric DeArment

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — A privately owned pharmacy benefit manager has named BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy as one of its top providers, BioPlus said Wednesday.

The specialty pharmacy said MedImpact Healthcare Systems had named it a ChoiceSpecialty provider and one of the preferred pharmacy providers of hepatitis C medications to MedImpact members.

"What I’m excited about with our new relationship with MedImpact is the opportunity to fully collaborate with them to provide the highest-quality care to their clients’ members, going far beyond a simple vendor relationship," BioPlus director of managed care Murali Sastry said. "In addition to being a preferred provider in their specialty pharmacy network, BioPlus’ new role as one of MedImpact’s preferred specialty pharmacies for hepatitis C allows us to provide the members with our best-in-class hepatitis C program, which has a proven track record of enhancing patient outcomes."

 

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Minnesota regional to grow store base to 12 locations through acquisition

BY Michael Johnsen

CRESCO, Minn. – Astrup Drug, headquartered in Austin, Minn., plans to acquire two independents, according to a report published Wednesday in the Cresco Times Plain Dealer. 

The two pharmacies include Hoines Health Mart Pharmacy and Medicap Pharmacy. While the deal has yet to be finalized — the timeline to sell will be in the spring of 2014 — both Hoines and Medicap are looking to sell to a pharmacy operator who will keep the locations in operation.  

Astrup Drug plans to operate under the name of Sterling in Cresco, according to the report.

Astrup Drug is a privately held regional pharmacy chain that was founded in 1952 by Leonard Astrup. The chain currently owns and operates 10 community pharmacies, one telepharmacy and one long-term care pharmacy in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. They also operate large gift shops in seven of these stores and gas stations at two of the locations.

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