PHARMACY

Flu season begins tracking across the South

BY Michael Johnsen

Nationwide, influenza-like activity is beginning to rise for the second week, barely eclipsing the national baseline the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established as an indicator that the current flu season is active.

For the week ended Dec. 2, 2.3% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network were due to influenza-like illness. Last year the flu season didn't officially start until closer to Christmas, or three weeks after the official start of the flu season this year. That season crested midway through February at a peak of 5.2% in ILI-related illness rates.

Currently three states are reporting high influenza activity, including Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. Puerto Rico, Georgia, Hawaii and Texas have reported moderate influenza activity.
   

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PHARMACY

Impax’s Coreg CR generic gets tentative FDA approval

BY David Salazar

The Food and Drug Administration has approved specialty pharmaceutical company Impax Labs’ generic of GlaxoSmithKline’s Coreg CR (carvedilol phosphate) extended-release capsules.

The Bridgewater, N.J. company, which is set to be acquired by Amneal in the coming year, said that its application would become eligible for final approval once marketing exclusivity expires in May 2018. The drug is indicated to treat mild-to-severe heart failure, left ventricular dysfunction following myocardial infarction and hypertension.

Impax’s generic will be available in 10-, 20-., 40- and 80-mg dosage strengths. The product had U.S. brand sales of roughly $206 million for the 12 months ended October 2017, according to data from IQVIA.

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PHARMACY

Advocate, Aurora health systems to merge

BY David Salazar

Two Midwestern nonprofit health systems are coming together to create what they say will be the 10th largest nonprofit integrated healthcare system in the country. Chicago-based Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care, which is based in Milwaukee, Wis. And is the parent company of Aurora Pharmacy, announced their plans to merge earlier this week. The combined company will be called Advocate Aurora Health, and serve nearly 3 million patients, the companies said.

“This merger is about transforming care delivery and reimagining the possibilities of health as bigger meets better and size meets value to benefit consumers,” Advocate president and CEO Jim Skogsbergh said. “By joining forces, we will be able to expand our network to scale innovation and create a destination in the Midwest for patients and the talented clinicians who care for them.”

The merger, which has been approved by the companies’ boards of directors, will see the combined company operating 27 hospitals, more than 500 sites of care, roughly 3,300 physicians and nearly 70,000 associates and care givers, the companies said.

“For the communities in Illinois and Wisconsin that we serve and for our two organizations, this is an unprecedented opportunity to shape our future and better serve patients,” Aurora president and CEO Nick Turkal said. “We are fortunate that our organizations are coming together from unique and complementary positions of strength, particularly at a time of evolving industry dynamics. Working together, we will deliver on the promise of value for the people who receive, provide and pay for health care.”

As part of the plan, the combined company’s board of directors will be equally made up of Aurora and Advocate board members with Skogsbergh and Turkal as co-CEOs.
 

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