PHARMACY

Rite Aid commences national shingles vaccination, education campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Wednesday announced the launch of a national shingles vaccination and education campaign on the nerve disease that impacts 1 million adults annually, half of them over the age of 60. Rite Aid is launching the nationwide campaign after conducting several regional clinics last year and encountering high demand from patients and healthcare providers, the retailer reported.

Rite Aid is offering the shingles vaccine at more than 1,200 Rite Aid pharmacies in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Patients can log on to www.riteaid.com/shingles to find the most convenient location and call the pharmacy to check if appointments are necessary.

Nearly all insurance plans including Medicare Part D will cover at least some of the cost, which varies by insurance coverage.

Shingles is caused by the same virus (varicella-zoster) that causes chickenpox, a common but rarely dangerous childhood disease. Almost 1-in-3 Americans will suffer a shingles outbreak in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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New report projects sales of Parkinson’s disease drug will reach $500 million

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. A drug made by Boehringer Ingelheim for treating Parkinson’s disease could have sales of up to half a billion dollars, according to a new analysis.

According to a report released Tuesday by market research firm Decision Resources, BI’s extended-release formulation of pramipexole will have peak-year sales of between $250 million and $500 million in major pharmaceutical markets. The drug was launched in Europe in 2009 and is expected to enter the market in the United States this year.

In the beginning, according to the report, launches of generic formulations of the immediate-release version of pramipexole and competition from GlaxoSmithKline’s and SkyePharma’s Requip XL (ropinirole CR) and generic versions of immediate-release Requip will put a damper on sales of pramipexole ER. However, physician familiarity with the drug and preference among physicians and patients for once-daily dosing will cause a “significant” increase in sales.

“Given physician comfort in prescribing pramipexole for Parkinson’s disease and the convenience of once-daily dosing that it would offer, we expect that pramipexole ER will take much of pramipexole IR’s patient share,” Decision Resources analyst Sami Fam said. “In the short term, we expect pramipexole ER will lose some patient share to ropinirole CR given that ropinirole CR was the first of the two agents to launch. But over the long term, physicians’ slight preference for pramipexole over ropinirole should help to boost pramipexole ER’s uptake.”

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Report: Weis Markets acquires local Medicine Shoppe pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. Weis recently acquired a Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in the Binghamton, N.Y., market, local newscaster News Channel 34 (owned by Newport Television) reported early Tuesday morning.

Weis Markets currently has 120 in-store pharmacies at other locations and is considering more at its Broome County locations, the report noted.

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