PHARMACY

Takeda seeks FDA approval for hypertension treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

OSAKA, Japan — Drug maker Takeda has filed for regulatory approval of a drug to treat hypertension, the company said Wednesday.

Takeda announced that it had submitted an application with the Food and Drug Administration for the fixed-dose drug azilsartan medoxomil and chlorthalidone. Azilsartan medoxomil is an angiotensin II receptor blocker, or ARB, that lowers blood pressure by blocking the angiotensin II hormone.

“Millions of patients with hypertension do not have their condition under control,” said Darryl Sleep, VP clinical science at Takeda Global Research and Development Center. “We believe this compound, the first [in the United States] to combine an ARB with chlorthalidone, could potentially provide an important new treatment option for patients with hypertension and the healthcare providers who manage them.”

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PHARMACY

Humana’s PBM division enters agreement with AmerisourceBergen

BY Michael Johnsen

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Humana Pharmacy Solutions, Humana’s pharmacy benefit management division, on Thursday announced it has selected AmerisourceBergen as Humana’s primary wholesaler for drug purchasing.

“With this agreement, we’ll be able to offer members and employers access to more cost-effective generic versions of clinically proven and popular brand-name drugs,” stated William Fleming, VP Humana Pharmacy Solutions.

The five-year agreement takes effect May 1.

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PHARMACY

Weis Lifestyle Initiatives now part of pharmacy division

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets streamlined its internal connection between wellness and pharmacy earlier this year with an organizational restructure that folded the Weis Lifestyle Initiatives department, led by registered dietitian Karen Buch, into the grocer’s pharmacy division.

“We’re looking to more closely align some of the initiatives in pharmacy, which are becoming much more service oriented,” Jeff Maltese, Weis’ VP pharmacy, told Drug Store News. “There’s an opportunity for us to leverage both of those healthcare professionals — [the registered dietitian and pharmacist] — under one department. It’s going to be all about providing solutions for consumers — whether they be consumers with pre-existing disease like diabetes or cardiovascular disease — that [have] a pharmaceutical component as well as a dietary component.”

There also is significant opportunity to develop prevention-minded programs for those health-savvy consumers actively looking to avoid chronic illnesses, Maltese added.

The Lifestyle Initiatives team traditionally has served as the voice of wellness and healthy eating within Weis, Maltese said, directing such projects as Weis’ Healthy Bites publication, a free monthly magazine and social media directive touting health and better-for-you recipes. That directive now will contain a more clinical focus, he said. “We’re also going to leverage Karen’s knowledge to educate pharmacists about how better to speak to their dietary consideration for their disease.”

Weis Markets last year overhauled its flagship format, featuring a redesigned pharmacy that makes the pharmacist more accessible. The new floor layout incorporates a dedicated consultation room, where Weis pharmacists can consult with patients around their drug regimens and administer vaccination shots. “Our goal is by this fall to have every pharmacist certified to immunize,” Maltese said.

Medication therapy management is another focus Weis will be pursuing for this fall, Maltese added, where every Weis pharmacist will be trained to conduct an MTM consultation.

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