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Vitamin C kills drug-resistant TB, researchers find

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Vitamin C can kill a virulent form of tuberculosis, researchers in New York have found.

The researchers, at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, determined that vitamin C was able to kill drug-resistant forms of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis in lab culture, publishing their findings in the online journal Nature Communications. They had been looking into how TB bacteria become resistant to isoniazid, a first-line drug used to treat it.

TB sickened 8.7 million people around the world and resulted in 1.4 million deaths, according to the World Health Organization, and about 650,000 people have multi-drug-resistant forms of the bacteria.

 

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Kroger places Empowered Products’ Pink in 1,400 stores across U.S.

BY Jason Owen

LAS VEGAS — Empowered Products Inc. announced today The Kroger Co. has placed its first batch of orders for Empowered Products’ Pink line of personal lubricants for five of Kroger’s distribution centers across the United States.

Kroger, the largest grocery store chain in the U.S., will now offer Pink Silicone and Pink Water at approximately 1,400 retail locations across the United States.

So far this year, in terms of Empowered Products’ continuous expansion within the national retail sector, Kroger’s 1,400-store order can now be added to product orders for Pink and GunOil from CVS Caremark for 5,000 retail locations, Walmart Stores for 600 retail locations, Walgreens for 250 retail locations and Target Corporation for online retail sales at Target.com. The Kroger Co. is comprised of a variety of retail outlets, including such grocery store chains as Ralph’s and Food 4 Less, as well as such convenient stores as Kwik Shop and Quik Stop.

Scott Fraser, president and CEO of Empowered Products, added, "Our new sales relationship with The Kroger Co. fits perfectly with our rapid expansion strategy within the mainstream retail space. In addition to providing our company with immediate increased presence in the national grocery store chain sector, the Kroger relationship also offers direct entry into the convenience store arena, which — with a convenient store seemingly on every U.S. corner — should prove to be an integral component of our overall national product sales growth."


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Report forecasts rapid rise in specialty drug spending through 2015

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — Spending on specialty drugs is likely to increase by 67% over the next couple of years, according to a new study by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

ESI said that spending on the drugs, used to treat such serious conditions as autoimmune disorders and cancers, would increase due to a large number of drugs under development and doctors delaying treatment of patients until they’re on the market. Research by the PBM has indicated that the country will spend nearly $115 billion on specialty drugs, most of them biologics, next year, meaning that drugs used by 2% of the population will account for $4 of every $10 spent on prescription drugs overall. At the same time, biosimilars are expected to save $250 billion between 2014 and 2024, according to another ESI report, released last month.

By the end of 2015, the report found, cancer, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, will each command higher drug-spending than any other therapy class except diabetes. Meanwhile, spending on hepatitis C drugs will quadruple over the next three years thanks to new drugs, expected to receive Food and Drug Administration approval next year, that don’t use interferons; interferons are proteins that are a key component to many biotech drugs used to treat hepatitis C, and, while effective, they can carry many harmful side effects.

"As we see what’s on the horizon, it’s time for employers and health plans to act so they can continue to offer an affordable pharmacy benefit for their members," ESI SVP clinical, research and new solutions Glen Stettin said. "New specialty treatments are making a real difference in the lives of patients, but the very high cost of these drugs creates difficult decisions for plan sponsors on which medicines to cover."

Diabetes will continue to be the most expensive drug therapy through 2015, and spending on diabetes drugs will rise by an additional 24% because of high prevalence and a large number of drugs under development. Spending on drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will increase by 25% despite the availability of new generics, mainly because of more middle-aged adults using them, as well as a wide geographic variation in diagnosis.

 

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