AstraZeneca’s thyroid cancer drug launches
WILMINGTON, Del. — Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca has made the drug vandetanib available to certain thyroid cancer patients.
The drug maker announced Monday that the drug would be available to patients with medullary thyroid cancer that could not be removed surgically or that had spread to other parts of the body. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug on April 6, and it is available exclusively through the pharmacy business unit of Biologics Inc., an integrated cancer management company.
“Vandetanib is the only medicine specifically approved for patients with this rare form of cancer,” AstraZeneca VP specialty care Lisa Schoenberg said. “We believe vandetanib will be important for the community of patients and doctors who are fighting this disease.”
RediClinic introduces Weigh Forward
HOUSTON — RediClinic, which operates 29 clinics inside H-E-B grocery stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, is launching in May the new Weigh Forward medically supervised weight-loss program.
Weigh Forward, which was developed in partnership with weight-loss expert David Katz, will be available starting May 16 at all 29 RediClinic locations.
"Weight management is a logical service for RediClinic to offer, as there is growing need for more effective solutions. And our grocery store venue gives us an advantage in terms of convenience and opportunity to help patients make better food choices," RediClinic’s CEO Web Golinkin said. "Weigh Forward is the first comprehensive, medically supervised weight-loss program to be delivered in a grocery store, and we believe it will set a new standard for sustained effectiveness."
The 10-week program capitalizes on RediClinic’s facilities and clinicians inside grocery stores to provide patients with information and counseling on diet/nutrition, physical activity and behavior modification. The diet/nutrition component includes weekly meal plans, with shopping lists of items that can be purchased in RediClinic’s host stores.
The behavior modification component features a proprietary system developed by Katz that identifies each patient’s individual barriers to success so that each program can be customized to help the patient overcome those barriers.
Each program also includes an initial medical evaluation and regular biometric testing to ensure that patients are improving their health while losing weight.
"With more than two-thirds of Americans either overweight or obese, weight management is the most important and challenging health issue of our time," Katz added, who will serve as the program’s medical director. "Weigh Forward combines everything I have learned about weight management during 20 years of research and clinical practice with RediClinic’s unique grocery store platform to create a program that is effective, sustainable, accessible, affordable and family-friendly. It is dedicated to helping people not just lose weight, but also find health."
Weigh Forward patients can expect to lose 1 to 2 lbs. per week, and upon completion of the 10-week program will have the knowledge and skills to continue losing weight and improving their health as needed, according to RediClinic. Maintenance programs will be available for those who need ongoing support from RediClinic’s clinicians and through the program’s online resources, which include access to e-nutritionists and e-trainers.
MinuteClinic to offer vitamin B12 injections, HPV vaccination
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic division has expanded its suite of services to now include vitamin B12 injections and the human papillomavirus vaccination Gardasil.
"There is an increasing medical need for patients to gain more convenient access to B12 injections and HPV vaccinations," stated Nancy Gagliano, MinuteClinic chief medical officer. "By making it easy to obtain these services in our retail locations with no appointment necessary, we hope to help seniors and other patients who have B12 deficiency, and also young women and men who want to lower their risk for serious disease caused by HPV."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1-out-of-31 adults older than 51 years are B12-deficient. The vitamin plays an important role in the normal function of the brain and nervous system, and in the formation of red blood cells. Patients with low B12 levels may feel tired and weak because of a lack of red blood cells carrying oxygen to the brain. Injections are given to raise B12 levels.
Patients receiving B12 injections at MinuteClinic must be older than 18 years and present a prescription for the injections or have a prescription on file with the pharmacy. The cost for each injection is $21 and many insurers provide coverage for B12 injections.
HPV immunization joins a suite of vaccinations offered by MinuteClinic for such illnesses as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia and hepatitis A and B. It helps to protect against four types of HPV, including two types that cause 75% of all cervical cancer cases in women ages 9 to 26 years. The CDC recommends the HPV vaccination for females in this age group. More than 12,200 new cases of cervical cancer were found in 2010 in the United States, and 4,210 deaths occurred, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The vaccine also protects against two types of HPV known to cause 90% of genital warts cases in both women and men in the age range of 9 to 26 years. It protects against 70% of vaginal cancer cases and 70% of vulvar cancer cases among girls and young women.
The HPV vaccine, which requires follow-up injections at two and six months, is offered by MinuteClinic to female and male patients who are older than 9 years and younger than 26 years old. The cost is $208 per injection. Many healthcare insurers provide coverage for HPV vaccinations.