older woman flu shot
PHARMACY

Webinar to focus on flu prevention in older adults

BY David Salazar

Sanofi Pasteur will be offering a live educational webcast for pharmacists aimed at helping pharmacists understand the impact the flu can have on older patients and those with chronic conditions.

The webinar, “The Role of the of the Pharmacist in Helping to Prevent Influenza in Older Adults,” will be presented by Michael Hogue, dean of the Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy and speaker of the American Pharmacists Association House of Delegates. Recently, it was announced that Hogue was elected president-elect of the APhA, an office he will assume in 2019-2020 prior to taking over as APhA’s 165th president in March 2020.

The presentation will focus on the medical burden and economic impact of the flu on patients older than 50 years old, as well as how the flu can exacerbate chronic conditions. It will feature a review of data on two flu vaccines that were compared to standard-dose flu vaccines for efficacy and safety in older adults. It also will feature strategies to improve immunization rates to prevent the flu in older patients.

The webinar will take place Jan. 24 at 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. EST. To register, click here.

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Industry groups urge members to submit DIR comments to CMS by Jan. 25

BY Sandra Levy

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association are urging member companies to submit official comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in support of direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR fee, reform concepts described in the agency’s proposed rule, “Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses.”

The deadline to submit comments is Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. EST.

NACDS said it encourages members to convey in their comments that DIR fee reform is vital for helping to reduce patients’ out-of-pocket drug costs at the pharmacy counter, and for the viability of pharmacy patient care and the value that this care creates in the form of reductions in overall healthcare costs.

Members also should urge CMS to take swift action on the DIR fee reform aspects of “file code CMS-4180-P – and to assure that DIR fee reform is implemented for plan year 2020,” NACDS said.

NCPA is directing members and patients to visit its home page at www.ncpanet.org and click on #FixDIR to submit comments.

Other tips for submitting impactful comments include the following: reference file code CMS-4180-P at the top of your company’s comments; review the detailed submission instructions outlined on the first page of the proposed rule and ensure sufficient time for mailed submissions to arrive by Jan. 25; and share with NACDS an electronic copy of your company’s comments by emailing the document to [email protected]

For further information, NACDS members can contact Tom O’Donnell, NACDS’ senior vice president of government affairs and public policy, at (703) 837-4216 or at [email protected]

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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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