PHARMACY

Merck accepting orders for seasonal flu vaccine from healthcare providers

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck is allowing healthcare providers to pre-order the flu vaccine Afluria (influenza virus vaccine) for the 2010-2011 flu season, the drug maker said Thursday.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the vaccine for use in children ages 6 months and older, making Afluria available for both children and adults and one of two vaccines available for children that young.

“Every preparation for the flu season is important to healthcare providers, and we are initiating pre-book orders for Afluria so our customers can have access to the tools they need to get ready now,” Merck Vaccines SVP and general manager for adolescent and adult vaccines Soren Bo Christiansen said in a statement. “Afluria is an important part of our broad range of vaccine products, and we want to do what we can to help our customers meet their seasonal flu needs in the U.S.”

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Duane Reade opens fifth walk-in medical clinic in New York

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK A new walk-in clinic at a Duane Reade store in Chelsea officially opened on Wednesday, making it the fifth Duane Reade location with “Doctor on Premises” walk-in medical care.

The physician-staffed clinic is managed by Consumer Health Services and is also affiliated with Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. It is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and accepts most insurance plans.

“Walk-in, neighborhood-based medical care is a growing trend in this country, and it’s a very positive trend,” stated Dr. Maggie Bertisch, M.D., medical director for New York Walk-In Medical Group PC. “It allows healthcare providers to offer a more convenient, affordable alternative to crowded emergency rooms, while delivering safe, quality medical care in a New York minute.” According to CHS, Duane Reade is planning to add more on-site health clinics in 2010.

As reported, Walgreens, which owns retail-based clinic operator Take Care Health Systems, announced on Wednesday that is has reached an agreement to buy Duane Reade in a deal valued at nearly $1.1 billion.

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Hi-Tech Pharmacal, Mission Pharmacal to market new kidney stone treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

AMITYVILLE, N.Y. Hi-Tech Pharmacal and Mission Pharmacal Co. are planning to market a new treatment for kidney stones to doctors starting in April, the drug maker announced Wednesday.

Under a license agreement between the two companies, Hi-Tech will promote UroCit-K 15mEq (potassium citrate) extended-release tablets to primary care physicians through subsidiary ECR Pharmaceuticals, while Mission will promote it to urologists. The drug is a twice-daily treatment.

“We are pleased to introduce another unique prescription branded product to the primary care market,” Hi-Tech president and CEO David Seltzer said in a statement. “UroCit-K 15mEq is a highly effective product, available in a convenient dosing regimen which will increase patient compliance.”

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