PHARMACY

Pfizer says clinical trials for Sutent did not meet expectations; halts additional cancer treatment study

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Two clinical trials of a Pfizer drug for treating advanced breast cancer have failed, Pfizer announced Thursday.

The world’s largest drug maker said two phase 3 trials in which Sutent (sunitinib malate) was added to chemotherapy did not extend patients’ lives while preventing their disease from progressing compared with chemotherapy alone. The SUN 1064 trial combined Sutent with docetaxel chemotherapy, while the SUN 1099 trial combined it with capecitabine.

Sutent is currently approved for treating gastrointestinal stromal tumor in patients whose disease has progressed after taking or who are unable to take Novartis’ Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) and kidney cancer. Pfizer is also studying the drug as a possible treatment for lung cancer, prostate cancer and liver cancer.

On the same day it announced the Sutent results, Pfizer also halted a phase 3 study of Genentech’s and OSI Pharmaceuticals’ Tarceva (erlotinib) combined with CP-751,871 (figitumumab) in patients with non-adenocarcinoma non-small cell lung cancer. An independent monitoring committee recommended that the trial be stopped when it found that adding the two drugs together was not likely to yield more effective treatment than Tarceva alone.

“This outcome is disappointing to us and to patients with NSCLC,” Pfizer Oncology Business Unit SVP clinical development and medical affairs Mace Rothenberg said in a statement.

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PHARMACY

Kinney Drugs offering free glucose testing to customers

BY Alaric DeArment

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. Kinney Drugs will offer free glucose testing at its stores in Vermont under a partnership with six local hospitals, the regional retail pharmacy chain announced Thursday.

All of Kinney’s stores in Vermont will have a diabetes clinic on March 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The clinic includes a test to determine whether customers are at risk, a finger-stick blood glucose test and diabetes education. Customers also will receive free samples and a “How to Live Well with Diabetes” booklet from the Vermont Health Department.

“We are very grateful for the relationship we have with our local community health agencies,” Kinney marketing manager Penny Perrone-Gray said. “Combined with their expertise in the diabetes field and our pharmacists’ medication knowledge, the program will be very informational to those who may be at risk of developing diabetes.”

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Berry awarded NACDS Congressional Leadership Award

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON During the National Association of Chain Drug Stores 2nd Annual RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, NACDS honored Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., with the NACDS Congressional Leadership Award for his strong commitment and lifetime support of pharmacy.

As the only licensed pharmacist in the United States Congress, Rep. Berry has been a champion for pharmacy’s healthcare priorities, from Medicaid average manufacturer price reform to preserving seniors’ access to durable medical equipment such as diabetes testing supplies from neighborhood pharmacies, NACDS said Thursday.

“As over 250 pharmacy advocates descend on Washington, D.C., for RxIMPACT Day to meet with their respective Members of Congress to advance pharmacy’s priorities, it is only fitting we recognize one of our most vocal advocates in Congress –– Representative Marion Berry,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “It is an honor to spotlight one of pharmacy’s true allies on Capitol Hill. Rep. Berry’s commitment, leadership and voice will be missed by pharmacy and by all who are concerned about healthcare delivery.”

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