PHARMACY

SDM buys Calea’s HealthAccess specialty pharmacy business

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO Shoppers Drug Mart last week acquired the HealthAccess division of Calea, a provider of specialty drug distribution, pharmacy and patient support services.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Shoppers Drug Mart will acquire Calea’s specialty pharmacy business including distribution and dispensing, therapy management, reimbursement consulting and other manufacturer services, as well as Calea’s call center business including patient and drug manufacturer support and adherence monitoring.

The acquired businesses will operate as Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty Health Network.

“This strategic acquisition provides Shoppers Drug Mart with a new platform to expand into special pharmacy services, enhance our ability to deliver superior patient support and, ultimately, harness the growth potential of specialty pharmacy, one of the fastest growing segments of the pharmaceutical marketplace,” stated Jurgen Schreiber, Shoppers’ president and chief executive officer.

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FDA to increase security for committee members in advisory meetings

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is planning on beefing up its security at advisory committee meetings, in hopes of restoring order after an incident at a recent meeting, according to The Regulation Policy Market Report.

According to reports, an intoxicated speaker in the audience at a recent meeting began a threatening rant. This isn’t the first time there have been disturbances at an advisory committee, they usually occur when the drug in question is used to treat rare-or life-threatening disease.

While the FDA hasn’t made a formal announcement of the policy changes, Office of New Drug director John Jenkins discussed the new procedures at the Drug Information Association’s annual meeting last week.

“We have put in place some new measures to help improve security at meetings,” Jenkins said. “If we anticipate that there may be an increased need for security at a particular meeting because it is a particularly controversial topic, we may have additional security procedures.”

Those procedures include:

1)      Creating a physical barrier by roping off the committee from the public. The intent, Jenkins said, is “to put some separation between those who might become agitated in the audience and committee members.”

2)      Increasing the presence of security guards in the committee room—both in uniform and street clothes.

3)      Reading a statement at the start of the meeting about “good rules of behavior.”

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FDA approves Eisai’s Aciphex for ages 12 and up

BY Alaric DeArment

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Aciphex for treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease in adolescents age 12 and older, Tokyo-based Eisai’s North America subsidiary announced Monday.

Aciphex, known generically as rabeprazole sodium, is available in 20 mg tablets for treating GERD for up to eight weeks.

Eisai discovered and developed the drug and promotes it in the United States with PriCara, a division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

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