PHARMACY

Vaccine push hits retail

BY Alaric DeArment

With pharmacists across the country now able to administer vaccinations, the Department of Health and Human Services’ plan came at just the right time.

Last month, HHS announced that it would invest $750 million in prevention and public health, through the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the healthcare-reform law. More than half of that was set aside for community prevention and clinical prevention, including increasing the availability and use of immunizations. Days later, HHS announced a new National Vaccine Plan that specifically acknowledged the role pharmacies can play in increasing use of vaccines as “community immunization sites.” Most recently, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Supervalu stepped up and announced that they had ensured their stores had the shingles vaccine in stock in response to reports of supply problems.

“There appears to be a growing trend for administration of adult vaccines at pharmacies and retail clinics,” IMS Health senior principal Heather von Allmen told Drug Store News. “The largest shifts toward retail pharmacy administration are for flu vaccine and the adult shingles vaccine. The adult pneumococcal vaccine, while still primarily administered in a nonpharmacy setting, is also seeing an increase in administration in the pharmacy setting.”

One advantage pharmacies have over physicians’ offices is the ability to easily meet storage requirements. For example, the adult shingles vaccine has to be frozen, and physicians’ offices don’t always have the ability to stock it. However, a pharmacy is already set up to store it, von Allmen said.

“I think you will see pharmacies continue to promote the administration of adult vaccines in the pharmacy or retail clinic setting,” von Allmen said. “This provides a revenue growth opportunity for pharmacies and provides patients with the convenience of receipt of the vaccine.”

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PHARMACY

ReportersNotebook — Chain Pharmacy, 3/14/11

BY DSN STAFF

SUPPLIER NEWS — Impax Labs received regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its generic version of a bacterial infection treatment. The drug maker said the FDA approved its 150-mg doxycycline monohydrate capsules, a drug used to treat bacterial infections and a generic version of Adoxa, made by Nycomed subsidiary PharmaDerm. The 150-mg strength of Adoxa had sales of about $25 million during the 12 months ended in December 2010, according to Wolters Kluwer.

Mylan announced the launch, through subsidiary Mylan Pharmaceuticals, of voriconazole tablets in the 50-mg and 200-mg strengths. The drug is a triazole antifungal agent. The tablets are a generic version of Pfizer’s Vfend, which had sales of $186 million in 2010, according to IMS Health. Mylan launched its version of the drug under a settlement with Pfizer. As the first company to file for FDA approval, Mylan is entitled to 180 days of market exclusivity in which to compete with Pfizer’s product.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has launched a generic drug for treating symptoms of menopause. The company announced the availability of Jinteli (norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol) tablets. The drug is a generic version of Warner Chilcott’s FemHRT and is available in the 1-mg/5-mcg strength.

The FDA announced the approval of Corifact, used to prevent bleeding in people with the rare genetic disorder congenital Factor XIII deficiency, which affects one in 3 million to 5 million people in the United States. The drug is manufactured by Marburg, Germany-based CSL Behring.

Amicus Therapeutics announced results of a 23-patient phase-2 extension study of the investigational drug Amigal (migalastat hydrochloride), designed to improve kidney function in patients with the genetic enzyme disorder Fabry disease. The study — an extension of the original, three- to six-month, 26-patient phase-2 study — used two criteria to measure kidney function: protein in the urine during a 24-hour period and a commonly used measure called estimated glomerular filtration rate, or eGFR. Amicus said preliminary data indicated that eGFR was stable after three to four years of treatment with Amigal, while protein levels in the urine also were reduced.

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MTM can save lives; retailers, suppliers take notice

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Walgreens’ winning of an award for its MTM services came right before it joined the Care Continuum Alliance — a group of more than 200 stakeholders that provide such services as wellness and prevention programs and management of chronic conditions — of which CVS Caremark already was a member.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens takes top honors for MTM services. For the full story, click here)

On top of that, the National Community Pharmacists Association and National Association of Chain Drug Stores have expressed support for a bill going through Congress that would allow any Medicare Part D beneficiary with a chronic condition to qualify for MTM services.

One trend taking place amid all of this: the rapid development of mobile health technologies, as evidenced by the number of companies that showed up at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. A patient with diabetes, for example, can perform a glucose test and then upload the results to a health information service, such as Google Health or Microsoft HealthVault. Then a pharmacist can review the information to help ensure that the patient is adhering to prescribed treatments.

MTM can save lives and money by making sure that patients take their drugs properly and on time, and the combination of increased access to MTM services and development of technologies that can help streamline those services will help drive further adoption of them in the future.

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