PHARMACY

Kerr Drug, UNC pharmacy school to collaborate in pharmacogenetic study

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. — A regional retail pharmacy chain and a nearby school of pharmacy will collaborate on a study to evaluate the implementation of a pharmacogenetic program in a community pharmacy setting.

Kerr Drug announced Friday that it would work with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy to explore the feasibility of a program for Sanofi’s and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s blood-thinning drug Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate).

Studies have recently shown that certain genetic variations between individuals can affect their responses to Plavix, and labeling for many drugs has been updated to include warnings of possible decreased response to therapy in some people.

"Because pharmacists have unique expertise in medication use and are point-of-care service providers, they can play an important role in facilitating pharmacogenetic testing and more personalized health care," Kerr Health EVP Rebecca Chater said. "This study will examine just how that role can be implemented."

During the six-month study, patients taking Plavix will be offered the opportunity to participate in the study through the pharmacy. They will then be screened and receive counseling at the pharmacy, with test results reviewed and interpreted by their pharmacists and prescribers.

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Teva inhaler with dose counter

BY Alaric DeArment

NORTH WALES, Pa. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a version of a drug made by Teva that includes a dose counter, the drug maker said.

Teva announced the approval of the inhaled drug ProAir HFA (albuterol sulfate) with a dose counter for treating bronchospasm with reversible obstructive airway disease and preventing exercise-induced bronchospasm in patients ages 4 years and older. The dose counter is designed to help patients and caregivers keep track of the number of doses in the canister.

"Short-acting beta-agonists like ProAir are an essential component of clinical treatment guidelines for asthma, [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and EIB," Teva SVP global respiratory research and development Tushar Shah said. "The dose counter is designed to help patients, as well as their healthcare providers, keep track of the number of doses remaining in the inhaler."

The company plans to launch the new inhalers later in the year.


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FidoPharm launches Pet Trust Plus

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW ORLEANS — A company that makes pet drugs has launched what it calls the first generic prescription heartworm preventive medication for sale at retail pharmacies around the country.

FidoPharm announced the launch of Pet Trust Plus (ivermectin and pyrantel), a generic version of Merial’s Heartgard Plus. The drug is meant to prevent heartworms from developing and reaching a dog’s arteries and heart.

"Dogs deserve access to preventive heartworm medicine, and their owners deserve choices without having to sacrifice quality and efficacy," FidoPharm president Alex Kaufman said. "With the introduction of Pet Trust Plus at retail pharmacies nationwide, FidoPharm continues to protect pets and provide pet parents with affordable and accessible pet healthcare options, and we are proud to educate pet owners about the importance of heartworm testing and treatment."

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