India considers legislation to make doctors prescribe generic drugs
SURAT, India — India could set a global precedent by legally requiring doctors to prescribe generic medicines.
According to several published reports, India Prime Minister Narenda Modi stated he supports legislation that requires that if a doctor writes a prescription, “he or she has to write in it that it will be enough for patients to buy generic medicine and he need not buy any other medicine.”
"It is the government's responsibility that everybody should get health services at minimal price," Modi said at the inauguration of a charitable hospice. “ … "In our country doctors are less, hospitals are less and medicines are expensive. If one person falls ill in a middle class family, then the financial health of the family gets wrecked."
It is uncertain if the United States will attempt a similar tactic, but Trump Administration office have repeatedly said they want to lower drug prices by having the Food and Drug Administration approve generic drugs faster.
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FDA approves Genentech’s bladder cancer drug
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to Genentech’s Tecentriq (atezolizumab) for the treatment of people with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who are not eligible for cisplatin chemotherapy. Tecentriq was previously approved for people with locally advanced or mUC who have disease progression during or following any platinum-containing chemotherapy, or within 12 months of receiving chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant).
According to Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, It is unknown if Tecentriq is safe and effective in children. Bladder cancer is the most common type of urothelial carcinoma, and up to half of all people with the advanced form of the disease are unable to receive cisplatin chemotherapy as an initial treatment and therefore have a high unmet medical need. Urothelial carcinoma also includes cancers of the urethra, ureters and renal pelvis.
“We are pleased that Tecentriq will now be available to more people with advanced bladder cancer, including those who are unable to receive initial treatment with cisplatin chemotherapy,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “Tecentriq was the first cancer immunotherapy approved by the FDA for people with advanced bladder cancer and has become a standard of care in those whose disease has progressed after receiving other medicines, either before or after surgery, or after their disease has spread.”
The FDA’s Accelerated Approval Program allows conditional approval of a medicine that fills an unmet medical need for a serious condition, based on early evidence suggesting clinical benefit. The indication for Tecentriq is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. Today’s approval of Tecentriq is based on the Phase II IMvigor210 study.
“It is encouraging to see continued progress in the treatment of advanced bladder cancer, which until last year had not seen any major advancements in more than 30 years,” said Andrea Maddox Smith, CEO, Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. “We are excited that Tecentriq is now a treatment option for people with advanced bladder cancer who are unable to receive a cisplatin-based chemotherapy as an initial treatment.
Possible serious side effects with Tecentriq include, but are not limited to, lung problems (pneumonitis), liver problems (hepatitis), intestinal problems (colitis), hormone gland problems (especially the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas), nervous system problems (neuropathy, meningitis and encephalitis), eye problems (inflammation of the eyes), severe infections and severe infusion reactions.
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Walgreens Healthcare Clinic to offer HIV, STI testing in multiple markets
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Beginning April 25, Walgreens Healthcare Clinic locations in 18 markets will offer testing services for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, Hepatitis B and C, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
“Offering these new services in our Healthcare Clinics demonstrates our ongoing commitment to improving the comprehensive health and wellbeing of our patients,” Pat Carroll, chief medical officer for Walgreens Healthcare Clinics, said. “We’re proud to introduce the testing services during STD Awareness Month in April, and support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in raising public awareness about the impact that STDs — the diseases that can develop from STIs — can have on the lives of Americans and the importance of testing and prevention.”
As part of the services, which will be offered in Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Kansas City; Knoxville, Tenn.; Las Vegas; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Nashville, Tenn.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Tucson, Ariz.; Washington D.C.; and Wichita, Kan. Healthcare Clinic providers – nurse practitioners and physician assistants will first conduct a consultation with the patient and, as applicable, conduct the STI testing process. The method of testing varies based on the type of condition being assessed.
The STI testing service cost ranges from $89-$129, though additional lab charges may apply And most insurance plans are accepted. Healthcare Clinic providers can offer treatment or a referral to a specialist, as needed.
In addition to STI testing, Walgreens is also furthering its commitment to supporting communities impacted by HIV through prevention and early detection services. On April 25, providers at Walgreens Healthcare Clinics in the Houston area, can begin prescribing PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a medication protocol for people who don’t have HIV to help proactively protect against HIV infection. When taken daily as directed and used consistently, PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV infection by more than 90%.
Following an initial PrEP consultation with a patient, Healthcare Clinic providers will be able to conduct tests for HIV and other STIs, as needed. Upon review of test results, providers will conduct a follow-up visit and may prescribe PrEP, as necessary.
“With our long history of working with the HIV/AIDS community, we are as committed as ever to the ongoing, incredible advancement in HIV testing, prevention and treatment that has occurred over the last decade, and to providing greater access to high-quality testing and prevention services through the clinics and our pharmacies,” said Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens senior director, virology disease state.
Also, as part of this commitment, Walgreens pharmacy staff and store managers chain-wide will be completing HIV continuing education training courses. The curriculum includes a Walgreens-developed HIV stigma course as well as a HIV prevention course developed by Walgreens in collaboration with the National Alliance of HIV Education and Workforce Development. The educational training also includes tools for improving adherence to PrEP.
“With this training, our pharmacy staff will be even more equipped to offer one-on-one medication counseling and other support services that provide our patients living with HIV/AIDS and their families, as well as those at risk for HIV, with compassionate, confidential care,” Pietrandoni said.
Walgreens also collaborates with health departments and local AIDS service organizations to help provide free HIV testing as part of an ongoing effort to broaden the reach of HIV information and testing in non-traditional settings and to support local organizations’ outreach efforts.
Glad to see Walgreens doing this - making a difference where greatly needed.