PHARMACY

FDA approves UCB’s Cimzia for ankylosing spondylitis

BY Alaric DeArment

ATLANTA — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by UCB for treating a form of arthritis.

The drug maker said Friday that the FDA had approved Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for adults with active ankylosing spondylitis, though it declined to approve the drug for axial spondyloarthritis, or axSpA. UCB said it was working with the agency to determine how to get the drug approved for axSpA.

"[Ankylosing spondylitis] is a lifelong disease that can cause pain and stiffness and, at times, can be very debilitating for people living with it," UCB EVP and chief medical officer Irish Loew-Friedrich said. "Cimzia provides an important new treatment option for people living with active AS an for rheumatologists."

 

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Giant-Carlisle sponsors drug take-back drive

BY Alaric DeArment

CARLISLE, Pa. — Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets — collectively known as Giant-Carlisle — will sponsor drug take-back events at more than three dozen stores next weekend.

The Ahold USA-owned supermarket banner said customers could bring expired and unwanted drugs to 42 stores on Oct. 26; 40 of the stores are in Pennsylvania, and two are in Virginia.

All medications will be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner at no cost to the customer, though the chain recommended that customers remove or cross out such personal information as names and addresses. During the last program, in April, participating store collected 4,392 pounds of medications.

 

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Francisco Partners acquires McKesson Automation

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — Francisco Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm, earlier this week signed a definitive agreement to acquire McKesson Automation, a unit of McKesson Corp. that offers integrated pharmacy automation solutions for hospitals and health systems. McKesson Corp. previously announced its intent to divest this division, which will operate under a new name after the transaction closes. 

The transaction is expected to close this quarter and is subject to customary closing conditions.

“McKesson Automation is highly regarded in the healthcare industry for its system-wide approach to and deep understanding of the medication delivery process,” said Chris Adams, a principal at Francisco Partners. “We are excited to work closely with the existing leadership team to expand the automation business as a standalone company. We will maintain a close working relationship with McKesson Corp. to ensure that the companies’ collective solutions for hospitals and healthcare providers are complementary and effective.”

“Hospitals today face tremendous challenges — from intensifying payment and cost pressures to evolving regulatory standards, changing demographics and quality of care measures,” said Kraig McEwen, president of McKesson Automation. “At McKesson Automation, we are developing technology solutions that help hospitals and health systems effectively manage these changes while improving patient care and outcomes. As a standalone company and with the financial and operational resources that Francisco Partners offers, we will have the ability to further our commitment to continuously advance medication delivery.”

Located in Pittsburgh, McKesson Automation helps hospitals and health systems streamline the delivery of medications — from the distribution source to the patient — shifting focus from manual tasks to patient care activities that impact outcomes and reduce costs. The business offers a range of products addressing every stage of medication delivery within a hospital, including pharmacy, nursing and surgical services.

 

 

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