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PhRMA: 435 medicines in development targeting diabetes and other chronic conditions

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 435 innovative new medicines to target 15 leading chronic conditions affecting the Medicare population, according to a new report released by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America last week.

These medicines in development — all either in clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration — are diverse in scope. They include:

  • 110 for diabetes, which affects 10.9 million Americans age 65 and older;
  • 62 for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, which affect 1.5 million and 27 million Americans respectively;
  • 67 for Alzheimer’s disease, which could affect 15 million people in the United States by 2050 if no new medicines are found to prevent, delay or stop the progression of the disease;
  • 61 for heart disease — heart failure, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and high cholesterol; and
  • 40 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which affects approximately 13 million adults, with the highest prevalence rate in those older than 65 years.

Today nearly 92% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 77% have at least two, according to the National Council on Aging.

“Treatment advances have led to significant progress against many chronic diseases, but challenges remain,” stated PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani. “The 435 medicines in the pipeline today offer incredible hope for aging patients and the sustainability of our healthcare system.”

According to NCOA, chronic diseases account for 75% of the money our nation spends on health care, with direct healthcare expenditures for chronic conditions in the United States totaling more than $262 billion in 2009. Among older Americans, 95% of healthcare costs are for chronic diseases, with the cost of providing health care for one person 65 or older being three to five times higher than the cost for someone younger than 65, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new report conveys a variety of novel approaches to treat many of these disorders. Examples include:

  • A potential new class of lipid-lowering treatments that would block a protein from interfering with the removal of LDL cholesterol from the blood;
  • A medicine in development for heart failure that relaxes blood vessels and reduces fluid buildup, which could reduce damage to the heart and other vital organs related to the damage associated with heart failure;
  • A next-generation, long-acting oral medicine to treat Type 2 diabetes that increases insulin secretion resulting in lower blood sugar levels, making it potentially a once-weekly versus daily treatment; and
  • A potential first-in-class medicine for Alzheimer’s disease that inhibits beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme (BACE), that could reduce plaque formation and modify Alzheimer’s disease progression.

 

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McKesson names new general counsel and chief compliance officer

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — McKesson on Monday announced Lori Schechter has been appointed EVP, general counsel and chief compliance officer, replacing Laureen Seeger, who will leave McKesson at the end of June to become the EVP and general counsel of American Express Company. Effective immediately, Schechter will be responsible for overseeing McKesson’s general counsel organization, which consists of the Law, Public Affairs, Compliance and Corporate Secretarial functions for McKesson and its subsidiaries. Schechter will also join McKesson’s executive committee.

“Lori is exceptionally qualified to lead our legal, public affairs and compliance functions,” stated John Hammergren, chairman and CEO, McKesson Corp. “Her deep litigation expertise and proven judgment, combined with her outstanding track record of developing and managing complex legal organizations, make her the ideal person to lead McKesson’s general counsel organization as we expand globally.”

Schechter has served as associate general counsel of McKesson since 2012. Previously, she was a litigation partner at Morrison & Foerster where she represented clients in complex litigation and investigations and served for four years as chair of the 500-lawyer global litigation department. Schechter was named by the National Law Journal as one of the “Top 50 Female Litigators in the Country.” She received her B.A. from Cornell University in 1983, and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1987.

Seeger departs McKesson after 14 years with the company, having served as general counsel since 2006.

“Laureen has made tremendous contributions to McKesson during her tenure with the company,” Hammergren said. “She is an outstanding lawyer and executive, with incredible character, integrity and heart. She has consistently provided expert legal and strategic guidance on the most important issues facing the company, while continually strengthening McKesson’s general counsel organization by attracting and developing world-class talent. We wish Laureen the very best in her future with American Express.”

 

 

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Target offers free shipping for orders $50 or more

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS — Target has implemented a new policy for online shopping, making nearly all online orders of $50 or more eligible for free shipping.

“We’ve heard from guests they don’t fully understand our shipping policy – so we’ve changed it to make it simpler and reduce the friction in making purchases on the site,” stated Jason Goldberger, SVP, Target.com and mobile. “Providing our guests a better free shipping offer is just one of the many ways we continue to improve the Target.com experience.”

In addition to the new shipping policy, guests can now also browse Target.com for most in-store merchandise and purchase many of those items online to pick up in store. Target also recently expanded its online subscriptions service for everyday essentials like diapers and coffee. In addition, Target.com returns are already free via postal service or by visiting a Target store.

Guests who use a REDcard credit or debit card will continue to receive free shipping and 5% off their purchases on Target.com.

 

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