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FDA approves two new indications for Amgen’s Prolia

BY Alaric DeArment

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved two new uses for a drug made by Amgen, the drug maker said Monday.

Amgen announced the approval of the biotech drug Prolia (denosumab) for increasing bone mass in men and women who are at risk of fractures due to hormone ablation treatments they are receiving for prostate and breast cancer, respectively.

"Bone loss and fractures are recognized adverse effects of hormone ablation therapies, but we have not had an approved treatment option to prevent these problems for our patients," Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center genitourinary malignancies program head Matthew Smith said. "Prolia now gives us the ability to reduce the risk of bone loss and fractures, allowing patients to continue their treatment and their fight against cancer."

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NACDS warns of Express Scripts-Medco deal in radio ad

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has launched a new drive-time radio advertisement in the Washington, D.C., market to warn of the potential consequences of the proposed merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco.

(Listen to the radio ad here)

The ad, which was launched in line with a hearing that will take place in Congress this week pertaining to the deal, further warns of the deal’s "feared anticompetitive and anticonsumer consequences," NACDS said. The ad also discusses “an unknown middleman controlling the majority of private pharmacy benefits” and the merged entity’s “unprecedented power over drug supplies, drug prices and access to … medicine,” the pharmacy group added.

“NACDS has utilized advertising as part of a comprehensive effort to tell the true story of pharmacies as the face of neighborhood health care and the unparalleled value of pharmacies in improving patient health and reducing costs,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “NACDS is committed to utilizing the modern tools of advocacy to present innovative solutions for advancing cost-effective and high-quality patient care, as well as to vigorously confront serious threats that jeopardize these vital principles."

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Target gives a lesson in education donations

BY DSN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — Target announced that this fall it is investing more than $50 million in education.

The donation will fund such programs as Target School Library Makeovers, Take Charge of Education and a series of education grants and awards that will provide the resources needed to help students and teachers excel, the company reported.

“We know there is a strong correlation between a child’s ability to read proficiently by the end of third grade and the likelihood that they will graduate from high school on time, ready for college, a career and life,” Target president of community relations Laysha Ward said. “To ensure our country remains competitive and our future workforce is well educated, we are continuing to invest in innovative education programs that will drive better reading outcomes and pave a path to graduation for more U.S. children.”

Target said the $50 million investment this fall is part of its goal to reach a total of $1 billion in giving to education, with a focus on reading, by the end of 2015.

This fall, Target said it will donate more than $26 million to schools nationwide as part of its Take Charge of Education program. This brings the total amount Target guests have helped the company contribute to schools to more than $324 million since the program’s inception in 1997. The Take Charge of Education program empowers guests to direct a portion of their Target REDcard purchases to an eligible, local K to 12 school of their choice, Target said. Educators at these schools may then use the funds for whatever they need most, from books and school supplies to classroom technology.

Target said it will fund more than $20 million in education grants, awards and an in-school literacy program this fall. The grants and awards, a portion of which are given from its 1,762 stores, will provide schools, libraries, teachers and nonprofit organizations the resources they need to put more books into children’s hands. In addition, an in-school literacy program is currently being executed in six Minneapolis schools. The program is aimed at helping more Minneapolis school children learn to read proficiently by the end of third grade.

In 2011, Target said it will completely transform 42 elementary school libraries in communities across the country as part of the Target School Library Makeover program. This represents an investment of more than $6 million.

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