PHARMACY

Mallinckrodt receives FDA approval for generic Duragesic

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a painkiller delivered through a skin patch made by Mallinckrodt, the generic drug maker said Friday.

Mallinckrodt, part of Covidien, said the FDA approved its fentanyl transdermal system patch.

The patch is a generic version of Johnson & Johnson’s Duragesic. The drug, an opioid and Class II controlled substance, is used for managing persistent, moderate-to-severe pain that requires continuous opioid administration.

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Lucentis improves vision among diabetes patients in trial

BY Allison Cerra

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche, reported that its eye drug helped improve vision in patients suffering from a complication caused by diabetes.

In its phase-3 RISE study, Genentech said diabetic macular edema patients that received monthly Lucentis (ranibizumab injection) achieved an improvement in vision at 24 months, compared with placebo.

The RISE study is one of two late-stage clinical trials that Genentech is conducting on Lucentis. The drug maker said it hopes that with results from the RISE study and the second phase-3 trial, RIDE, Lucentis can be approved for a new indication by the Food and Drug Administration.

DME is a serious complication of diabetes that affects up to 10% of people with the disease and can lead to blurred vision, severe vision loss and blindness, the drug maker said. “DME is a leading cause of blindness among working-aged adults in most developed countries, and currently there are no FDA-approved medicines to treat patients who suffer from this debilitating condition,” said Hal Barron, Genentech chief medical officer and head of global product development. “We are encouraged by these data and await the results of RIDE, our other pivotal study in DME.”

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Rite Aid assures patients it still has shingles vaccine in stock

BY Allison Cerra

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Responding to reports of a shingles vaccine shortage, Rite Aid is assuring customers that nearly 1,900 of its pharmacies have an ample supply.

Rite Aid noted that it can provide vaccinations against the nerve disease in 27-of-the-31 states where its stores are located, and in most of the states where Rite Aid operates, pharmacists can administer the vaccine to walk-in patients ages 60 years and older.

The company also reminded patients to call their local Rite Aid to see if appointments are necessary, as well as for the cost of the vaccination, which varies with insurance coverage. Nearly all insurance, including Medicare Part D plans, will cover at least some of the cost, Rite Aid said.

The drug store chain has vaccinated thousands of patients against shingles since 2007, and launched a nationwide awareness campaign last January.

In related news, supermarket retailer Supervalu also addressed the shingles vaccine shortage, stating that the company also had an ample supply of the vaccine on hand.

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