HEALTH

Decision Resources: More patients switch to Onglyza from Merck’s Type 2 diabetes drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

BURLINGTON, Mass. Many Type 2 diabetes patients who use the drug Onglyza (saxagliptin) switched to that drug from Merck’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and Janumet (sitagliptin and metformin), according to a new report by market research firm Decision Resources.

 

The report found that 9.3% of patients for whom Onglyza –– made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca –– was not their first Type 2 diabetes drug had previously used Januvia, while 7.9% had used Janumet. All three drugs belong to the same class, known as DPP-IV inhibitors.

 

 

“While about half of physicians we surveyed predict their prescribing of Onglyza will increase over the next two years, and Onglyza has picked up some patient share from Januvia and Janumet, Januvia’s more favorable formulary positioning and noncoverage of Onglyza will remain important hurdles for Onglyza’s uptake,” Decision Resources analyst Kate Sullivan said.

 

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Walgreens continues vitamin D giveaway program with Aetna, United Way

BY Allison Cerra

COLUMBIA , S.C. (May 27) One of the nation’s largest drug store chains has teamed up with a healthcare benefits company and a community solutions provider to raise awareness of the need for adequate vitamin D intake.

Walgreens, Aetna and United Way of the Midlands are continuing their efforts through a vitamin D giveaway program extension, which initially was kicked off earlier this year. The vitamin D awareness efforts will donate more than 25,000 samples, the companies said.

“We are pleased to continue our participation in this program to drive awareness around a health concern that’s seldom discussed in many communities,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens market VP. “Our goal is for more people to be informed that supporting a proper diet and healthy lifestyle with a vitamin D supplement is a simple step that can have long-term health benefits.”

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McKesson’s drug-distribution business aids Q2 growth

BY Allison Cerra

SAN FRANCISCO Healthcare and distribution company McKesson reported Wednesday that the Distribution Solutions segment of its business drove second-quarter growth.

Revenues for McKesson rose nearly 1.5% to $27.5 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with the year-ago period. Similarly, the company’s second-quarter earnings rose from $1.11 per share in second quarter 2009 to $1.25 per share.

For its Distribution Solutions business, McKesson said revenues were up 2% in the second quarter, with gross profit rising to $1.09 billion from $960 million in second quarter 2009. The company attributed the increased gross profit margin to an improved mix of higher-margin products and services, including sales of OneStop Generics.

“I’m pleased with the outstanding performance in our Distribution Solutions and the ability of our team to consistently provide higher-value products and services to our customers,” said John Hammergren, McKesson chairman and CEO. “In particular, the market-leading generics programs that we have across all of our distribution businesses continue to play a significant role in our margin expansion.”

McKesson also saw additional increases across its U.S. pharmaceutical distribution, where revenues were up 1% for the quarter, as well as its medical-surgical distribution revenues, which rose 5%. The company also noted, however, that revenues were down 3% for its Technology Solutions segment.

Hammergren said that the company continues to expect to earn between $4.72 and $4.92 per diluted share for its fiscal guidance.

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