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Kadmon announces launch of 600 mg/day dose pack of Ribasphere RibaPak

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Kadmon Pharmaceuticals earlier this month announced that it has launched a new 600 mg/day dose pack of Ribasphere RibaPak (ribavirin, USP), Kadmon’s proprietary ribavirin regimen available in a daily, two-pill compliance package for enhanced therapy adherence.

The new dose pack is designed to provide added dosing control to improve the management of hemolytic anemia in certain patients prescribed the triple therapy of a protease inhibitor, pegylated alpha interferon and ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection.

"Anemia, particularly severe anemia, is an important concern with hepatitis C treatments, one which may be effectively controlled through ribavirin dose reduction," stated John Ryan, EVP and chief medical officer of Kadmon. "Anemia can also affect treatment adherence and a patient’s ability to complete therapy. The new 600 mg/day Ribasphere RibaPak dose pack ensures that physicians can seamlessly reduce ribavirin dose without compromising the adherence advantages of RibaPak."

Pooled data from studies of the protease inhibitors Victrelis (boceprevir) and Incivek (telaprevir), approved in 2011 for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C virus, showed that anemia was a frequently observed adverse event in both treatment-naive and treatment-experienced patients, in some cases exhibiting a doubling of incidence over control (peginterferon/ribavirin). In clinical studies, anemia has been managed with ribavirin dose reduction and/or with off-label use of erythropoietin.

With the new 600 mg/day dose pack, Ribasphere RibaPak now is available in four dosing options: 600 mg/day, 800 mg/day, 1,000 mg/day and 1,200 mg/day. Ribasphere RibaPak offers a unique packaging and dosage form designed to simplify treatment, reducing ribavirin pill burden by up to 66% over a 48-week course of treatment, and to make it easier for the patient to keep track of his or her treatment.

Adherence to therapy is an important component in the successful treatment of hepatitis C. The risk of noncompliance includes treatment failure or relapse and, because of the direct antiviral mechanism of protease inhibitors, missed doses of a protease inhibitor could lead to viral resistance.

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White paper: Independent pharmacist recommendations drive sharper growth across certain OTCs

BY Michael Johnsen

WAUKESHA, Wis. — A significant growth opportunity for independent pharmacy may be in its sales of over-the-counter products, according to a recent white paper published by the Hamacher Resource Group. Patient access to pharmacists and their product recommendations contribute to improved OTC performance within independent pharmacy, the report noted.

Using first aid as an example, first aid bandages remained a strong category in chain pharmacy, however first aid treatments — antibiotics, skin treatments, wound cleansers and antiseptics — were stronger across independents. "The story that unfolds indicates that consumers tend to favor independent community pharmacies for medicinal or clinical-type purchases, but chain pharmacies for healthcare items that might be considered more mass market," the paper read.

According to the report, sales of treatment-focused OTC products represented a larger percentage of category sales within independent pharmacy, and increases in market basket can be attributed to companion product sales and category adjacencies.

“Growth Drivers” is a follow-up to HRG’s 2011 white paper “Supply Chain Collaboration: Maximizing Health, Beauty and Wellness Product Sales in Independent Pharmacy,” which addressed the relationships among suppliers, distributors and independent pharmacy. “Growth Drivers” is a more in-depth dissection of the reasons that certain categories outperformed in independent pharmacy over chain drug.

“These two studies have highlighted the importance of independent pharmacies and the growth potential of OTC remedies and certain categories at these retailers," stated HRG VP Dave Wendland. "Combining disciplined merchandising tactics and strategic store layout with ongoing pharmacist education will continue to drive growth in this channel."

Hamacher Resource Group published the white paper, titled “Growth Drivers: The Factors Behind Independent Pharmacy OTC Sales,” with the support of two trade associations — the Healthcare Distribution Management Association and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

Wendland presented the white paper on Monday at HDMA’s Business & Leadership Conference during the Health, Beauty and Wellness Products Forum in San Antonio, Texas.

The “Growth Drivers” white paper is available at no charge at Hamacher.com/GrowthDrivers.

Wendland also will present the findings from the “Supply Chain” and “Growth Drivers” white papers during an upcoming webinar sponsored by HDMA and CHPA.

 


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TABS study: Demand for fish oil and vitamin D flattening; vitamin B still strong

BY Michael Johnsen

SHELTON, Conn. — TABS Group on Thursday reported a small increase of 2% to $12.2 billion in vitamin sales for the 52 weeks ended in April, according to the "TABS Group Annual Vitamin Study," now in its fifth year.

This growth came despite the percentage of U.S. vitamin users in 2012 decreasing from 71% to 66%, according to the report, which cited trade-ups, price inflation and the increased usage emanating from current buyers purchasing more vitamins as drivers behind the growth.

While multivitamins remain most popular, with 75% of category buyers purchasing, others include fish oil (43%), calcium (33%), vitamins C and D (both at 32%) and vitamin B (23%).

However, buyer growth in fish oil and vitamin D, two high-growth areas in the past five years, has stopped according to the TABS report. Only vitamin B saw meaningful gains in the 52 weeks ended in April — 23% as compared with 20% in the year-ago period. “Except for vitamin B, there were no areas of growth in attracting additional buyers, which has implications for manufacturers and retailers over the next 18 to 24 months," noted Kurt Jetta, TABS Group CEO. "We project the category remains relatively flat, with growth coming from trading up existing customers."

The survey also revealed a shift from specialty retailers toward mainstream. Target, Walgreens, CVS and online sales were all big winners, with Walmart apparently stabilizing share, while catalog and nutritional specialty retailers lost share.

“Longer term, we are bullish on the category and view this as a short-term blip created primarily from unfavorable press," Jetta said. "Macro consumer trends — aging population, migration toward self-care, higher healthcare costs — point to solid gains over the next 10 years."

The TABS Group Annual Vitamin Study was conducted among 1,000 representative respondents ages 18 to 75 years.

 


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