PHARMACY

Mollen Immunization Clinics cancels vaccinations at Rite Aid

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Mollen Immunization Clinics, the nurse clinic provider scheduled to administer regular seasonal flu shots at select Rite Aid stores in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington, has notified Rite Aid it has canceled the clinics scheduled Oct. 13 through mid-December on account of a shortage of the regular season flu vaccine, Rite Aid announced Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control said the shortage stems from manufacturers focusing on producing the H1N1 flu vaccine. “We know that some providers, some communities, some health departments don’t have as much [seasonal] vaccine that they ordered,” Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a press conference Friday. “We ask for people’s patience. I know this is challenging [but] there’s time to get the seasonal vaccine and more will be coming out regularly,” she said.

“The good news is, we have more seasonal flu vaccine out than we typically would at this time of year,” Schuchat said. To date, more than 77 million doses of seasonal vaccine has been distributed. ”Bad news is, more people want it than can get it.”

Schucat explained that some vaccine manufacturers have adjusted their calendars to make sure they can distribute the H1N1 vaccine as early in the season as possible.

Regular seasonal flu shots still can be obtained from certified immunizing Rite Aid pharmacists in select West Coast Rite Aid stores, Rite Aid announced.

In all other states where Rite Aid operates, regular seasonal flu shot clinics will continue as planned Oct. 20 through 22.

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IMS Health forecasts growth in U.S., global pharmaceutical markets

BY Alaric DeArment

NORWALK, Conn. Strong near-term growth in the U.S. pharmaceutical market will drive growth in the global pharmaceutical market, according to a forecast by market research firm IMS Health.

In its IMS Market Prognosis report, the firm forecasted market growth of 4% to 6% on a constant dollar basis next year, exceeding $825 billion, with an expansion of up to 7% through 2013, when the total market value will expand to at least $975 billion. Growth in the United States, likely to be 3% to 5% in 2010, is expected to drive global growth.

“Overall, market growth is expected to remain at historically low levels, but stronger-than-expected demand in the U.S. is living both our short- and longer-term forecasts,” IMS SVP healthcare insight Murray Aitken said in a statement. “The economic climate will continue to be a dampening influence in most mature markets, particularly in those countries with rising budget deficits and publicly funded healthcare systems.”

Blockbuster drugs that generate $137 billion in sales a year – particularly Pfizer’s Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium), GlaxoSmithKline’s Seretide (fluticosone propionate and salmeterol xinafoate) and Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate), by Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb – will lose patent protection over the next five years and face generic competition. At the same time, new drugs that treat diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis are unlikely to generate the same sales as the blockbuster drugs. These two factors will combine to dampen growth prospects, according to IMS.

Still, growth prospects in the United States have improved, the report said. Pharmacy chains have more tightly managed their inventory levels based on expectations of patient demand, which has increased purchasing volatility but also created higher-than-expected sales growth in first quarter 2009. Meanwhile, papers have sought to limit price increases and boost the use of generic drugs.

“In the U.S., pricing flexibility and inventory management actions are contributing to much higher growth than anticipated earlier this year and are the main reasons for the upward adjustment to our five-year forecast,” Aitken said.

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Sanofi Pasteur: H1N1 shot boosts immune response

BY Michael Johnsen

LYON, France Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-Aventis Group, on Thursday announced that a single dose of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccines, Panenza (15 mcg dose, non-adjuvanted) or Humenza (3.8 mcg dose, adjuvanted), administered to children (3 years of age and older) and adults just one time induces a robust immune response that is considered protective in 93% or more of adults 18 to 59 years old and in 83% or more of adults 60 years of age and older, according to results from clinical trials conducted in Europe.

In children 3 years of age through 17 years of age, 94% or more of study participants achieved seroprotective antibody response.

“These significant clinical data concerning Sanofi Pasteur’s pandemic influenza vaccines will help build public confidence in the vaccine and will support efforts by health authorities to face the challenge posed by pandemic influenza,” stated Wayne Pisano, president and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur.

The results are based on interim analysis following the first vaccination dose from clinical trials conducted in France and Finland. No serious adverse events have been observed to date in these clinical trials. Local injection site (redness, swelling and pain) and systemic complaints of mild fever, headache and fatigue were reported.

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