PHARMACY

AstraZeneca, BMS say late-stage trial of Onglyza met primary endpoint

BY Allison Cerra

SAN DIEGO — A cobranded Type 2 diabetes treatment may help reduce blood-sugar levels among patients when combined with insulin (with or without metformin), according to a late-stage clinical trial.

AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb said that when Onglyza (saxagliptin) in the 5-mg strength was combined with insulin (with or without metformin), patients saw significantly lower HbA1C levels by an average of about 0.73% by the end of the phase-3 trial, compared with a placebo-insulin (with or without metformin) combination.

Conducted over a period of 24 weeks, the multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study included 455 Type 2 diabetes patients between the ages of 18 years and 78 years. All of the patients enrolled in the study were diagnosed as having inadequate glycemic control, AstraZeneca and BMS said.

The data was presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 71st annual Scientific Sessions in San Diego.

“Type 2 diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease, and many patients who require insulin may need to increase their dosage over time to help control their blood-sugar levels,” said Bernard Charbonnel, professor of endocrinology and metabolic diseases at the University of Nantes, France, and principal investigator of the study. “The study showed that Onglyza 5 mg used with insulin helped improve HbA1C in these adult patients with Type 2 diabetes.”

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Report: Some branded diabetes drug prices at Walmart, Kmart rise at fast rate

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Prices for the top 10 most prescribed branded diabetes drugs have risen faster at Walmart and Kmart than at other retailers, according to a published report.

Citing a recent study by researchers at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, Reuters reported that Walmart raised prices for branded diabetes drugs by 32% between 2008 and 2010, compared with 21% for the industry as a whole — including independent and chain retail pharmacies and mail-order companies. Kmart raised prices by 35%.

Walmart has long been considered an innovator for its $4 generics program, introduced in 2006, which since has become almost standard practice for retailers around the country. The study also found that generic drug prices fell by 58% over the two-year period, while branded drug prices increased by 113%.

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Novo Nordisk’s Victoza helps patients achieve blood-sugar control when switching from exenatide or sitagliptin

BY Allison Cerra

SAN DIEGO — Novo Nordisk unveiled data from two extension studies at the 71st annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego that show its diabetes drug, when combined with other medications, may help patients achieve blood-sugar control.

The drug maker found that combining Victoza (liraglutide [rDNA origin] injection) with metformin and/or sulfonylurea helped patients achieve blood-sugar control.

Additionally, Novo Nordisk also presented data that showed that the addition of Levemir (insulin detemir [rDNA origin] injection) to Victoza and metformin helped patients reach and maintain blood sugar targets. The results also showed a low frequency of hypoglycemia and maintained weight loss among patients.

Both switch trials were extensions of randomized, open-label studies that compared the efficacy and safety of Victoza in 1.2-mg and/or 1.8-mg strengths, taken once daily, with twice-daily exenatide (10 μg) or sitagliptin (100 mg), all in combination with metformin and/or sulfonylurea.

“The results … are encouraging. Not only did Victoza treatment alone help more than 60% of patients achieve the ADA target for blood-sugar control, but also the addition of Levemir helped many of the remaining patients achieve the ADA target without the increases in hypoglycemia and body weight normally associated with insulin therapy,” Novo Nordisk EVP and chief science officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said.

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