PHARMACY

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals begins shipping treatment for patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Keryx Biopharmaceuticals last month announced it has begun shipping Auryxia (ferric citrate) tablets to wholesalers in the United States. Auryxia is approved for the control of serum phosphorus levels in patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis. 
 
“Auryxia is a new treatment option for nephrologists that fits squarely into their current treatment protocols,” said Ron Bentsur, CEO Keryx. “We have built a world-class renal commercial team at Keryx and are eager to deliver the first and only absorbable-iron-based phosphate binder to dialysis patients.” 
 
“Dialysis patients and their healthcare providers will benefit from having an additional phosphate binder available,” said Julia Lewis, nephrologist and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Auryxia's clinical profile is compelling and, I believe, will be of value for my patients.”
 
End-stage renal disease represents the most severe stage of CKD, as many metabolic factors, such as iron and phosphorus, are out of balance. The majority of ESRD patients require chronic treatment with phosphate-binding agents to lower and maintain serum phosphorus at acceptable levels. In addition, iron can be severely depleted in dialysis patients and they therefore are often treated with intravenous iron and other medications. Approximately 450,000 ESRD patients require dialysis in the United States, with the number projected to rise in the future. 
 
Auryxia is the first and only absorbable-iron-based phosphate binder that is clinically proven to effectively control phosphate levels within the KDOQI guidelines range of 3.5 mg/dL to 5.5 mg/dL. The Food and Drug Administration approved Auryxia in September 2014. 

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Report: Shoppers Drug Mart in Port Alberni, B.C., bans tobacco products

BY Antoinette Alexander

PORT ALBERNI, B.C. — Joining many Canadian pharmacies, a Shoppers Drug Mart in British Columbia’s Port Alberni has decided to stop selling tobacco products, according to a local news report.

According an article by the Alberni Valley Times, owner Bijan Mahmoudi expects to lose $10,000 to $15,000 in profits from the ban of cigarettes but said it’s the right move to help patients live healthier lives.

Despite efforts by the College of Pharmacists of B.C., British Columbia remains the only Canadian province that allows tobacco to be sold in stores that have pharmacies.

Top executives of several pharmacy retailers in British Columbia — including London Drugs, Safeway and Rexall — last year threatened to take legal action against the College of Pharmacists of B.C. if tries to block tobacco sales in their stores on the grounds that the college would be exceeding its powers and jurisdiction, as previously reported by the Vancouver Sun.

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Script Your Future launches fourth annual Medication Adherence Team Challenge

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — January marks the launch of the fourth annual Medication Adherence Team Challenge, a two month-long inter-collegiate competition among health profession student teams and faculty for creating solutions to raise awareness about medication adherence as a critical public health issue.

The Challenge is returning to university campuses across the country after three years of student innovation. The Challenge is part of Script Your Future, a campaign launched by the National Consumers League and partners in 2011 to combat the problem of poor medication adherence. In the United States, nearly 3-out-of-4 patients do not take their medication as directed.

The Challenge is sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, the American Medical Association, the National Community Pharmacists Association, American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the American Pharmacists Association.

During January and February, the inter-professional teams — including student pharmacists, nurses, doctors and others — will be implementing creative solutions and outreach in their communities to raise awareness and improve understanding about medication adherence using Script Your Future materials. At the end of the Challenge, select schools or colleges will be recognized nationally for their efforts to improve medication adherence.

“The success of the Script Your Future Adherence Challenge over the last three years demonstrates the power of collaboration between student pharmacists and their health profession counterparts to engage patients and caregivers to improve health through better adherence," said Lucinda L. Maine, EVP and CEO at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. "This year’s Challenge continues to build on the strength of the inter-professional healthcare team in hopes to move the needle on medication adherence.”

Over the past three Challenges, more than 5,000 future healthcare professionals directly counseled more than 22,000 patients and reached more than nine million consumers in this concerted public effort about the importance of medication adherence. Last year’s awardees were LECOM School of Pharmacy, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Touro University California College of Pharmacy, Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy and University of Wisconsin, School of Pharmacy.

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