FDA reviewing InterMune’s IPF drug
BRISBANE, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing a drug for treating a lung condition that affects around 200,000 people in the United States and Europe.
InterMune announced Friday that the FDA’s Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee would review the drug pirfenidone, a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. IPF is a disease that reduces lung function and eventually leads to disability and death.
The drug was approved in October 2008 in Japan, where Shionogi & Co. markets it under the name Pirespa, but there are currently no IPF drugs available in the United States or Europe. InterMune plans to market the drug here under the name Esbriet.
Bristol-Myers Squibb discusses pipeline with investors
NEW YORK Aims of becoming a leader in biotechnology headlined a meeting Thursday between Bristol-Myers Squibb and investors as the drug maker highlighted a pipeline of late-stage and early-development drugs.
Like many big drug companies, Bristol has focused on beefing up its pipeline as it faces big patent expirations over the next few years, particularly for the anti-clotting drug Plavix (clopidogrel). The company has particularly high hopes for investigative compounds to treat Alzheimer’s disease and hepatitis C.
“I am fully confident in our ability to deliver on our three major strategic imperatives – driving our performance in the next few years, improving our earnings base in 2013 and sustaining growth in 2014 and beyond,” said Bristol president and COO Lamberto Andreotti, who will soon replace James Cornelius as CEO. “We have important strategic, operational and financial levers which will allow us to fully realize our potential as a biopharma leader, and to deliver on our near-term and long-term growth opportunities.”
NCPA survey finds pharmacists helped customers weather the (winter) storm
ALEXANDRIA, Va. A recent survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association indicated that local pharmacists stepped up to the plate to make sure that patients’ healthcare needs were met during the 2009-2010 winter season.
NCPA polled 85 community pharmacies in 26 snow-plagued states over a seven-day period in February, while much of the East Coast was still digging out from snow storms and some areas braced for additional winter precipitation.
The survey findings reveal a deep commitment to continue serving patients despite the trying circumstances:
- 79% managed to maintain normal business hours, with some pharmacies opening early or staying late as necessary. Some used generators to supply power and remain open. Others extended phone services to meet emergency needs
- 36% expanded their pharmacy’s home delivery service area to accommodate additional patients. Sometimes this included traversing unplowed roads in four-wheel-drive vehicles or picking up groceries for homebound patients
- 45% witnessed an increase in the number of patients needing emergency fills due to the lack of mail service. Meeting this need usually required either contacting the physician or a lengthy phone call to the insurance company or pharmacy benefit manager for an override. In other cases, pharmacists provided a short-term supply at no cost to the patient and without reimbursement to the community pharmacy.
“These community pharmacists truly stepped up when the patient need was greatest,” said Joseph Harmison, NCPA president. “That commitment is one reason why pharmacists are consistently among the public’s most-trusted professions.”