Rituxan OKed as treatment for two inflammatory diseases
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Genentech for the treatment of two rare inflammatory disorders, the agency said.
The FDA approved Rituxan (rituximab), in combination with a type of steroid known as glucocorticoids, to treat patients with Wegener’s granulomatosis and microscopic polyangiitis. Both disorders cause inflammation of the blood cells, also known as vasculitis, which can lead to tissue damage. WG mostly affects the respiratory tract, while MPA affects the kidneys, lungs, nerves, skin and joints. Both are considered orphan diseases because they affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States, but their causes remain unknown.
“This new indication for Rituxan provides the first approved therapy for these two orphan diseases,” FDA Office of Drug Evaluation II director Curtis Rosebraugh said.
GPhA applauds new IMS Institute report
WASHINGTON — The main trade group for the generic drug industry is heralding a new cost analysis by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics showing that generic drugs can reduce co-payments by up to 80%.
According to the analysis, contained in the report “The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2010,” the average co-payment for a generic drug was $6.06 per prescripton last year, compared with $23.65 to $34.77 for preferred and nonpreferred brand drugs.
“As this IMS analysis shows, having access to [a Food and Drug Administration]-approved generic version of a brand drug can cut the average co-pay for that medicine by more than 80%,” GPhA executive director Bob Billings said. “These are big savings for the hundreds of millions of Americans who have prescription drug coverage in their health insurance plans.”
Billings called for increase funding for the FDA’s Office of Generic Drugs to allow generics to get to market faster. Currently, the agency has a backlog of more than 2,000 applications, with as many as 365 of those applications related to new generic versions of branded drugs.
NACDS launches mobile app for Annual Meeting
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on Tuesday the launch of its 2011 Annual Meeting mobile Web-based application, which is designed to enhance attendees’ efficiency and experience at the NACDS Annual Meeting from April 30 to May 3 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
In addition, the NACDS mobile website, m.NACDS.org, has been updated with information about the Annual Meeting and all 2011 NACDS events.
First introduced for the 2010 NACDS Annual Meeting, the app has been an important tool for applying today’s technology to NACDS’ meeting format. NACDS also created similar apps for both the 2010 Marketplace Conference and Pharmacy & Technology Conference. Unveiled earlier this year, m.NACDS.org serves as a "guide on the go" to NACDS meetings, advocacy and public relations. This year’s Annual Meeting attendees will find an updated schedule, floor plan, list of participants and other information about the upcoming event on the mobile website. The site specifically is designed for ease of use on any smartphone with a Web browser.
The NACDS mobile app is compatible with most smartphone platforms, including iPhone, Droid and Blackberry devices, and can be downloaded for free on the Annual Meeting website: NACDSannual.org.
"NACDS is committed to bringing a cutting-edge approach to its member programs and services," stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. "NACDS continues to leverage technology to continuously enhance the meeting experience."