PHARMACY

Walgreens unveils newly renovated stores in Indianapolis

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens has transformed 68 locations in the Indianapolis market into health and daily living destinations.

The drug store chain hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday at a store located on 16th and Meridian in Indianapolis. On hand at the ceremony were Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson, former Indianpolis Colts coach Tony Dungy and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

The stores are part of Walgreens’ pilot program that launched last year in Chicago.

“Our new health and daily living stores help people live well, stay well and get well,” Wasson said. “At the core of this approach is our effort to bring the pharmacist out from behind the counter so they can provide more counseling to patients, offer clinical services and answer questions. By advancing the role of the community pharmacist in this way, we believe we can create better health outcomes, prevent hospitalizations and save money for patients, employers, insurers and the health care system.”

The stores now tout the following innovations:

  • A pharmacist located in front of the pharmacy to offer greater opportunity for patient interaction/consultation and such healthcare services as vaccinations and health testing;

  • Health Guides: Walgreens staff members who are armed with an iPad and are available to answer product and service questions, help customers navigate the store and their healthcare options and sign up for events. Select stores also have a Health Corner space to host individual or group health and wellness community events;

  • Fresh food, including fruits and vegetables, meats, prepared salads, sandwiches, wraps, take-and-bake pizzas and other on-the-go meal options; and

  • An enhanced beauty department display, including one store with a Look Boutique featuring dozens of prestige and niche cosmetic, skin care and hair care brands.

In line with the store openings, Walgreens also announced that it has added six Take Care Clinics in Indianapolis, bringing the total number of Take Care Clinics to 14 in the area. The company noted that board-certified family nurse practitioners and physician assistants at Take Care Clinics treat patients ages 18 months and older for common illnesses, offer preventive services such as vaccines and physicals and are licensed to write prescriptions, when necessary, that can be filled at the patient’s pharmacy of choice.

Earlier this month, Walgreens opened its Chicago flagship store, which included a variety of premium offerings.

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Watson launches generic version of Bayer’s Yaz

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Generic drug maker Watson Pharmaceuticals has launched its version of a contraceptive made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Watson said.

The company announced the launch of Vestura (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol), a generic version of Bayer’s Yaz.

Yaz and its generic versions had sales of about $510 million during the 12-month period ended in November, according to IMS.


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Sandoz starts two late-stage biosimilar trials

BY Alaric DeArment

HOLZKIRCHEN, Germany — Drug maker Sandoz has started two late-stage clinical trials of biosimilar drugs for treating cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the company said Thursday, saying the studies were meant to support the drugs’ eventual marketing in the United States.

The generics arm of Swiss drug maker Novartis announced the start of phase-3 clinical trials of filgrastim and pegfilgrastim, respectively biosimilar versions of Amgen’s Neupogen and Neulasta. Both drugs are used to prevent neutropenia, a side effect of some chemotherapy treatments that results in low counts of white blood cells, known as neutrophils, and can lead to dangerous infections.

"Sandoz is already the clear global leader in biosimilars overall and in each of our three marketed products, with approximately 50% total segment share in the highly regulated markets of North America, Europe, Japan and Australia," Sandoz global head Jeff George said. "These two development milestones demonstrate that we also continue our efforts to make good on the longer-term promise of our leading pipeline."

Sandoz already markets filgrastim under the brand name Zarzio in more than 30 countries outside the United States, where a large healthcare reform bill included the creation of a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars. In addition, it markets the growth disorder drug Omnitrope (somatropin), a biosimilar of Pfizer’s Genotropin, in the United States under a special approval pathway that the Food and Drug Administration created in 2006.


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