PHARMACY

Galena buys rights to cancer-pain drug from Orexo

BY Alaric DeArment

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — Galena Biopharma has purchased rights to a treatment for breakthrough cancer pain from a Swedish drug maker, Galena said Monday.

Galena, which specializes in cancer-related drugs, said it acquired Abstral (fentanyl) sublingual tablets for sale and distribution in the United States from Orexo AB. Breakthrough cancer pain, or BTcP, affects between 40% to 80% of cancer patients, with reported episodes of four per day and a median duration of 30 minutes, according to Galena.

Abstral received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in January 2011. The drug belongs to a class known as transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl, or TIRFs, which have a market of $400 million in the United States, Galena said. The drug is designed for patients who are already receiving opioids, but have become tolerant to them.

Under the agreement, Galena will pay $10 million upfront to Orexo and $5 million within the first 12 months of closing, plus low double-digit royalties and one-time milestone payments based on pre-specified net sales.

 

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Walgreens demonstrates success on improving adherence at World Congress Summit

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens recently presented the research on how community pharmacy programs, as well as new adherence models and metrics, can help drive better medication adherence. The research, presented at the World Congress Summit in Philadelphia last Friday, demonstrates the company’s success in improving patient medication adherence by developing an infrastructure that tracks patient-level adherence and uses predictive modeling along with risk stratification to identify patient patterns. 

“Medication nonadherence is one of the greatest and most costly barriers in treating illness today,” noted Kristi Rudkin, Walgreens senior director product development. “By developing programs and services that can help reduce these barriers, and examining ways to drive cost savings and improved health outcomes through better adherence, we can help more people get, stay and live well.”

Walgreens also can help lower general healthcare costs for payers. New-to-therapy patients often face adherence challenges while trying to learn a new medication regimen. A retrospective cohort study assessing the impact of pharmacist-led, face-to-face counseling in new-to-therapy statin patients found that compared to usual pharmacy care, those patients receiving face-to-face counseling had 7.2% higher adherence.

Forgetfulness also can be a contributor to nonadherence. In a pilot program, automated refill reminders significantly improved patient adherence to medications used to treat chronic conditions. Patients who received automated Interactive Voice Responses telephonic reminders had a significantly higher medication possession ratio compared with patients who did not receive reminders. Additionally, the persistence for the intervention was nearly eight days longer than that of the control group.

“Helping patients improve their medication adherence is a challenge for providers, payers and many others within the healthcare system,” commented Michael Taitel, Walgreens senior director of clinical outcomes and analytic services. “We’ve demonstrated the effectiveness of several programs and initiatives — including our new to therapy program, automated refill reminder calls. Integrating predictive modeling and risk stratification will help us be even more effective at driving better adherence and ultimately, better health outcomes.”

Rudkin and Taitel discussed the research findings along with product-specific interventions focused on empowering patients to better self-manage their condition. Medication nonadherence is estimated to cost the U.S. healthcare system $300 billion dollars per year. The World Congress Summit to Improve Adherence and Enhance Patient Engagement gathered medical experts to address ways in which effective interventions and coordination can improve adherence rates and drive better patient outcomes. The summit took place March 14-15 in Philadelphia.

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FDA approves Mylan bronchospasm drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic treatment for bronchospasm made by Mylan, the drug maker said Monday.

Mylan announced the approval of levalbuterol inhalation solution in the 0.31 mg/3 mL, 0.63 mg/3 mL and 1.25 mg/3 mL strengths. The company has begun shipping the product.

The drug is a generic version of Sunovion’s Xopenex inhalation solution, which is used to treat bronchospasm in patients ages 6 years and older with reversible obstructive airway disease.

Various versions of the drug had sales of $438.8 million in 2012, according to IMS Health.

 

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