PHARMACY

GPhA appoints new executive

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The Generic Pharmaceutical Association has appointed a new executive who will help guide the organization’s newly created research and education institute.

The organization announced Thursday the appointment of Ahaviah Glaser as VP policy and strategic alliances. Glaser previously was a member of AARP’s government affairs team.

"Through GPhA and the newly created Affordable Medicines Research Institute, Havi will help educate both the public at large and policy makers around the world about the safety and efficacy of generic medicines, as well as the extraordinary healthcare savings that generics provide," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said.

"In a time when budget challenges and healthcare costs are colliding as never before, not only for governments but for families, Havi’s job will be to help shepherd research, education and outreach efforts to ensure that all Americans fully understand that generic pharmaceuticals reduce healthcare costs while maintaining the high-quality standard of care that they rightly expect," Neas added.

 


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Walgreens: More than 250K Tricare beneficiaries lobby to keep Walgreens in network

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — More than 250,000 U.S. military personnel, family members, retirees and others in the Department of Defense Tricare pharmacy benefits program, and their supporters, so far have signed petitions demanding access to Walgreens pharmacies under the Tricare pharmacy program, Walgreens reported Thursday.

The pace of petition signatures from Tricare members seeking to retain access to Walgreens and their supporters has reached more than 10,000 per week in recent weeks, the pharmacy operator added.

“The last thing military personnel, families and retirees need is for their pharmacy benefits and choices to be disrupted by this issue,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness solutions and services. “Walgreens’ proposals to protect Tricare members remain on the table. There is no reason the parties cannot act quickly — before the Dec. 31 deadline — to protect Tricare members from disruption. And Walgreens is prepared to do so.”

Walgreens reiterated its offer to negotiate the Tricare renewal separately from Express Scripts’ commercial business, to lower Tricare reimbursement rates across the board and to provide an ironclad guarantee that Walgreens’ prices would match or beat the average costs per adjusted prescription of all other retail pharmacies in the Tricare network.

Walgreens also pledged that the company will work with Tricare beneficiaries in an effort to make any transition after Dec. 31 as seamless as possible if no agreement with Express Scripts comes to fruition.

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Data from Qnexa study presented at World Diabetes Congress

BY Allison Cerra

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Obese diabetes patients could experience weight loss when taking Vivus’ anti-obesity drug, according to an oral presentation at the International Diabetes Federation’s World Diabetes Congress in Dubai.

The presentation, given by Nancy Bohannon — director of clinical research at the cardiovascular risk reduction program at St Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco and scientific advisory board member at Vivus — said that when analyzing a subset of patients enrolled in the CONQUER study, 147 of them had diabetes and a body mass index greater than 35. Among this population, 33% experienced excess weight loss when taking Vivus’ Qnexa over a 56-week treatment period, compared with 7.4% of patients in the placebo group. The weight loss also was highly correlated to improvements in glycemic parameters, including fasting glucose, fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1C.

Additionally, normalization of glucose levels and withdrawal of all antidiabetic medications occurred in 15% of patients treated with full dose Qnexa, compared with 2% that were treated with placebo.

Excess weight loss typically is reported in patients who have undergone weight-loss surgery, Bohannon said.

"Multiple options are needed to address the parallel epidemics of diabetes and obesity, and Qnexa could be a potential nonsurgical approach to both treat obesity and improve glycemic control in obese diabetic patients," she said.

The safety profile in this subpopulation, based on reported adverse events, is consistent with that seen in the whole study population, the presentation noted. The most common adverse events seen were constipation, upper respiratory infection and tingling.


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