PHARMACY

Acorda Therapeutics’ Inbrija gets approval

BY Sandra Levy

Acorda Therapeutics has received the Food and Drug Administration’s green light for Inbrija for intermittent treatment of OFF episodes in people with Parkinson’s disease treated with carbidopa/levodopa.

OFF episodes, or OFF periods, are defined as the return of Parkinson’s symptoms that result from low levels of dopamine between doses of oral carbidopa/levodopa, the standard oral baseline Parkinson’s treatment.

“Today’s approval of Inbrija marks a major milestone for both Acorda and the Parkinson’s community, for whom we are gratified to have developed this much-needed therapy,” Acorda president and CEO Ron Cohen said. “This milestone resulted from over two decades of research and development, beginning in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Langer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, through years of enormous perseverance and ingenuity by the entire Acorda team.”

Inbrija, which is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2019, will be distributed through a network of specialty pharmacies.

“Despite being on treatment, patients may experience OFF periods as Parkinson’s progresses, which can be disruptive,” The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s CEO, Todd Sherer, said. “The foundation provided funding for the early clinical development of Inbrija because patients told us that OFF periods were one of their most serious issues. We knew we had to help address this unmet need, and this approval is a significant step forward for the community as it provides a new option to manage these gaps in symptom control.”

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PHARMACY

Amgen’s Nplate pediatric indication gets FDA approval

BY Sandra Levy

Amgen has received the Food and Drug Administration’s blessing for Nplate (romiplostim) for the treatment of pediatric patients age 1 year old and older with immune thrombocytopenia, or ITP, for at least six months who have had an insufficient response to corticosteroids, immunoglobulins or splenectomy.

ITP is a rare, serious autoimmune disease characterized by low platelet counts in the blood and impaired platelet production.

Nplate is a thrombopoietin, or TPO, receptor agonist that mimics the body’s natural TPO, and is designed to increase platelet counts in patients with chronic IPT.

“Today’s approval underscores our long-standing commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of patients with rare and difficult to treat hematological disorders,” David Reese, Amgen’s executive vice president of research and development, said. “In the 10 years since the FDA approved Nplate as the first platelet booster for adult patients with chronic ITP, it has made a difference in the lives of thousands of adults, and we’re proud to bring this treatment option to children who need it most.”

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Propeller Health integrates Walgreens into ‘My Pharmacy’ tool

BY David Salazar

Digital therapeutics company Propeller Health has introduced a new tool for patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who use the Propeller mobile app. The “My Pharmacy” tool will connect patients directly to pharmacy services, with Walgreens as the first pharmacy to be included in the feature.

Using the “My Pharmacy” tool, patients will be able to refill prescriptions for in-store pickup at a Walgreens pharmacy, locate a nearby Walgreens pharmacy, talk live with a pharmacist through Walgreens Pharmacy Chat, and check their Balance Rewards points using the Propeller app.

“The ability to refill a prescription or talk to a pharmacist through an existing digital health tool is an important step in making care easier, faster and less stressful for patients,” said Greg Tracy, chief technology officer at Propeller Health. “We’re thrilled to work with Walgreens on this launch and hope our collaboration will serve as a blueprint for future pharmacy integrations within our platform.”

The feature will roll out to the Propeller iOS app this week, with plans to expand it to the Android app in the coming month. Propeller health said further programs and partners are expected this year.

“Our collaboration with Propeller is the latest example of our focus on working with healthcare companies to bring new, innovative services to our patients and customers,” said Giovanni Monti, vice president and director of healthcare innovation at Walgreens Boots Alliance.

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