PHARMACY

NACDS presents RxImpact ‘U’ Advocacy Award

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Advocacy on behalf of pharmacy at the state level has won recognition from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores for a pharmacy school in West Virginia.

The NACDS said it gave its RxImpact “U” Advocacy Award to students Katrina Thompson and John Hudson from the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy for their leadership in organizing student participation in a Pharmacist’s Legislative Day at the West Virginia State Capitol.

“NACDS RxImpact ‘U’ was developed to engage the next generation of pharmacy — pharmacy school students — in grassroots advocacy,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “Katrina and John have demonstrated a commitment to telling pharmacy’s story, and serve as fine examples for other advocates participating in NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill.”

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PHARMACY

Under PEPFAR, Matrix Labs gets OK to sell zidovudine tablets

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — A subsidiary of Mylan has won approval to sell a generic drug for HIV and AIDS in developing countries under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Mylan announced Thursday that Matrix Labs won Food and Drug Administration approval for zidovudine tablets in the 100-mg strength. The drug is a generic version of ViiV Healthcare’s Retrovir, an antiretroviral sold as a water-dispersible tablet. The drug is designed to treat HIV and AIDS in children and prevent transmission of the virus from pregnant mothers to their children.

“According to PEPFAR, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is extraordinarily effective,” Mylan president Heather Bresch stated. “Without PMTCT, 25% to 40% of babies of HIV-positive mothers will be born infected; with PMTCT, that number drops to below 5%.”

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PHARMACY

Benlysta approved as lupus treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a treatment for lupus made by GlaxoSmithKline and Human Genome Sciences, the agency said Wednesday.

The FDA approved Benlysta (belimumab), a treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus, the first new treatment for the autoimmune disease in 56 years.

“Benlysta, when used with existing therapies, may be an important new treatment approach for healthcare professionals and patients looking to help manage symptoms associated with this disease,” FDA Office of Drug Evaluation II director Curtis Rosebraugh said.

Prior to Benlysta’s approval, the only drug approved specifically for treating the disease was Sanofi-Aventis’ Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) and corticosteroids. Aspirin was approved to treat the disease in 1948.

The approval likely will be a welcome relief for many patients with the disease, a potentially fatal condition in which the body attacks healthy tissues, affecting the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart and brain. Lupus affects between 300,000 and 1.5 million people in the United States.

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