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PHARMACY

Catalent acquires Juniper Pharmaceuticals

BY Sandra Levy

Catalent, a leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products, is acquiring Juniper Pharmaceuticals, including its Nottingham, U.K.-based Juniper Pharma Services division.

The acquisition of Juniper will expand Catalent’s offerings in formulation development, bioavailability solutions and clinical-scale oral dose manufacturing, and will complement its integrated global clinical and commercial supply network, the company said.

“Juniper’s proven solutions and capabilities will further support Catalent’s strategic goal to be the most comprehensive partner for pharmaceutical innovators,” Catalent Oral Drug Delivery president Jonathan Arnold said. “Juniper’s scientific expertise in early-phase product development and supply will help our customers unlock the full potential of their molecules and provide better treatments to patients, faster.”

Catalent will continue to support Juniper’s Crinone (progesterone gel) franchise marketed by Merck KGaA outside of the U.S. Juniper’s Intravaginal Ring development pipeline was previously licensed to Daré Bioscience, and Catalent will not be involved in the further development of this program.

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PHARMACY

Merz’s Xeomin for adults gets FDA approval

BY Sandra Levy

Merz North America has received the green light from the Food and Drug Administration for Xeomin (incobotulinumtoxinA) for the treatment of chronic sialorrhea, or excessive drooling, in adult patients. The condition can occur from difficulty retaining saliva inside the mouth, issues with swallowing and from problems controlling facial muscles.

Xeomin is the first and only neurotoxin with this approved indication in the United States.

“Until now, there has not been an FDA approved treatment for this debilitating condition,” Merz vice president and U.S. head of neurosciences Kevin O’Brien, said. “This approval represents a significant milestone in addressing the unmet needs for more than 600,000 adults who suffer from chronic sialorrhea, and underscores our commitment to improving the lives of those living with movement disorders.”

Sialorrhea is a common symptom among patients who suffer from neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cerebral palsy (CP) or who have experienced a stroke.

This is the fourth neurological indication for Xeomin, which was first approved by the FDA in 2010 for the treatment of cervical dystonia and blepharospasm in patients previously treated with onabotulinumtoxinA, and in adult patients and in 2015 for upper limb spasticity in adult patients.

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PHARMACY

Albertsons piloted Idaho expanded prescribing before July 1 enactment

BY David Salazar

The start of the July also was the start of a new era for pharmacists in Idaho, where pharmacists gained expanded prescribing authority on July 1. Before it took effect, though, Albertsons pharmacies were given agency approval to pilot the new prescribing authority, which made it the first large retail chain pharmacy in the nation to offer these expanded services.

Under Pharmacist Prescriptive Authority Rule Docket 27-0104-1701, pharmacists can evaluate and prescribe medications for patients experiencing one of a specific list of common conditions, including cold sores and urinary tract infections. They also can assess and fill gaps in clinical care, for example recommending statins for patients with diabetes.

“We’re proud to pioneer this new and practical service for our patients who regularly interact with pharmacists about their symptoms related to these conditions,” said Mark Panzer, Albertsons senior vice president of pharmacy health and wellness. “Now we can provide them with the treatment they need by offering easy access to quality healthcare services, in a convenient location, for conditions that often require urgent care.”

Currently, more than 30 Albertsons locations in the Gem State are offering expanded prescribing services, seeing patients on both a walk-in and appointment basis. Patients will be counseled privately by the pharmacist, who will help them fill out an intake form, perform a health screening and determine an appropriate prescription, if necessary. They also will notify the patient’s primary care physician and schedule a follow-up with the patient to evaluate how the medication is working. Pharmacists will work with a patient’s physician and insurance company to ensure timely and cost-effective care.

“Community pharmacists are already well positioned to provide patients with the comprehensive care allowed for by this new law,” said Pam Eaton, executive director of the Idaho Pharmacists Association As the medication experts and an accessible resource for the public, this is an exciting time for pharmacists to demonstrate they are capable and knowledgeable to perform these services in a time when access to care can be limited, especially in rural areas.”

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