PHARMACY

Vaccines in development could open opportunity for specialty pharmacies

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Since the development of the first smallpox vaccine in 1796, vaccines have saved countless lives around the world and helped to make such deadly scourges as smallpox and polio things of the past.

(THE NEWS: PhRMA report lists almost 300 vaccines under development. For the full story, click here.)

In addition to helping the practice of medicine evolve, they also have sparked an evolution in the roles of pharmacy and pharmacists in the United States. Today, pharmacists in all 50 states administer flu vaccinations, not to mention pharmacist-administered vaccinations for shingles and diseases that travelers can contract in other countries. What once required a doctor’s appointment now is as simple as walking into a store.

But just as vaccines for common infectious diseases have brought what used to be a physicians-only service to community pharmacy, many of the new vaccines under development could do the same with regard to specialty pharmacy, including therapeutic vaccines against cancers and serious infectious diseases, such as HIV.

Obviously, these aren’t the kinds of vaccines one can simply get at the drug store, but specialty pharmacies — particularly those that operate community pharmacies, infusion centers or home-infusion services — could be in a position to deliver them.

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FDA approves Vivus’ Stendra for erectile dysfunction

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SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for treating erectile dysfunction, the agency said Friday.

The FDA announced the approval of Vivus’ Stendra (avanafil).

"This approval expands the available treatment options to men experiencing erectile dysfunction and enables patients, in consultation with their doctor, to choose the most appropriate treatment for their needs," FDA Office of Drug Evaluation III deputy director Victoria Kusiak said.


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FDA approves GlaxoSmithKline’s Votrient for soft tissue sarcomas

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by GlaxoSmithKline for certain cancer patients.

GSK announced the FDA approval of Votrient (pazopanib) for patients with soft tissue sarcoma who have received prior chemotherapy.

"It is such a great moment to bring forth this treatment option for patients, as it represents one of the few new medical options to be provided to patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma over the last 30 years," GSK Oncology president Paolo Paoletti said.

Soft tissue sarcomas are a group of rare cancers that affect the mesenchymal cells, which give rise to soft tissues, such as muscles, nerves, fat, blood vessels and others. The incidence of STS was 10,980 in 2011, according to the American Cancer Society.


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