PHARMACY

Genzyme announces phase-3 results of Lemtrada in patients with relapsing MS

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A late-stage clinical trial of a drug under development as a treatment for multiple sclerosis has shown "successful" results.

Genzyme, acquired earlier this year by French drug maker Sanofi, announced results of the phase-3 "CARE-MS II" trial of Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), saying the drug "significantly reduced" worsening of disability and relapse in patients with MS, compared with Rebif (interferon beta-1a), made by Pfizer and German drug maker Merck KGaA, a separate company from U.S.-based Merck.

"CARE-MS II represents the culmination of many years of clinical and laboratory research aimed at demonstrating the potential for alemtuzumab as a highly effective treatment for MS and understanding mechanisms involved in the complex natural history of the disease," University of Cambridge clinical neuroscience professor Alastair Compston said on behalf of Genzyme. "Taken together, the phase-2 and phase-3 clinical trial data illustrate the promise that alemtuzumab holds as a transformative treatment for people with relapsing MS."


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PHARMACY

Walgreens, three PBMs launch ad campaign warning of networks without Walgreens

BY Michael Johnsen

BOISE, Idaho — Walgreens on Friday joined with three pharmacy benefit managers — Altius Health Plans, Coventry Health Care and HealthAmerica — for an awareness campaign to educate employers on the benefits of a pharmacy network that includes Walgreens.

The campaign includes print and radio advertisements and outreach to employers. The campaign warns employers that if Walgreens is removed from their pharmacy network beginning Jan. 1 (a reference to the day Walgreens will no longer be a part of the Express Scripts network, though Express Scripts is not named in any of the releases), their employees may face disruptions in pharmacy care and, in some cases, "employers without Walgreens in their pharmacy network could end up paying higher overall medical costs."


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PHARMACY

Campaign encourages Ga.-based employers to include Walgreens in 2012 pharmacy networks

BY Allison Cerra

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Coventry Health Care of Georgia has launched an awareness campaign with Walgreens that underscores the benefits of including the drug store chain in employers’ 2012 pharmacy networks.

The campaign — which includes print and radio advertisements and outreach to companies whose current health plans will not include Walgreens in their 2012 pharmacy networks — seeks to educate employers in the Augusta and Savannah areas about how they can ensure access to convenient pharmacy services for their employees, Coventry said.

“Coventry knows that employers in both Augusta and Savannah want their employees to have convenient access to the pharmacy of their choice. Walgreens offers among the most convenient pharmacy locations in these areas,” Coventry Health Care of Georgia CEO Tom Davis said. “Coventry recognizes the importance of including Walgreens in our pharmacy network, and we want Augusta and Savannah employers and consumers to know they have a choice with Coventry.”

Added Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness, “Walgreens and Coventry Health Care of Georgia have a strong relationship that makes pharmacy services convenient and accessible for patients and customers in the Augusta and Savannah communities. This relationship gives employers the opportunity to best serve their employees with comprehensive network access to the pharmacy providers who can help patients stay healthy.”


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