Drug makers fight infectious diseases with 400 drugs in pipeline
BOSTON —Humanity has come a long way since the days when people thought sickness came from an assault by evil spirits. But though many infectious diseases continue to have no prevention, treatment or cure—9.5 million people around the world die every year from infectious diseases—that number is dwindling.
According to a report released by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, nearly 400 drugs and vaccines—145 vaccines total—for infectious diseases are in various stages of clinical development or under review by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Infectious diseases continue to cause great human suffering, and the effort to conquer them is one of the greatest human endeavors,” PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani stated. “Many once-deadly diseases have been nearly wiped out or are effectively controlled thanks to medical progress, but more needs to be done.”
The problem is particularly acute in developing countries. Six medicines and five vaccines are under development for malaria, which, according to PhRMA, takes the life of a child in Africa every 45 seconds. But infectious diseases affect many in developed countries also. Eighteen drugs and vaccines are under development to treat or prevent Staphylococcus infections, which can cause the life-threatening illness known as sepsis when they enter the bloodstream, while one strain, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, infects some 2 million people in the United States every year.
Of note, two companies—San Diego-based Vical, working with the Vaccine Research Center in Bethesda, Md., and Mt. Pleasant, S.C.-based GenPhar—are developing vaccines for the Ebola virus, one of the most dangerous viruses in the world. GenPhar also is developing a vaccine for Marburg virus, a less virulent relative of Ebola. Meanwhile, high school and college students may be pleased to find that GlaxoSmithKline has a vaccine for mononucleosis resulting from the Epstein-Barr virus in mid-stage clinical trials. Four vaccines also are in the works for hepatitis C.
Vaccines in phase 3 or awaiting FDA approval
|FluBlok||Protein Sciences||Influenza virus infections in adults and children||Applied for approval|
|Hexaxim||Sanofi Pasteur||Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B||3|
|Imojev||Sanofi Pasteur, Acambis||Japanese encephalitis||3|
|Ixiaro||Intercell, Novartis Vaccines||Japanese encephalitis||3|
|MenHibrix||GlaxoSmithKline||Neisseria meningitidis groups C and Y, Haemophilus influenzae type B||Applied for approval|
|Menveo||Novartis Vaccines||Meningococcal group A, C, Y and W-135||Applied for approval|
|Optaflu||Novartis Vaccines||Influenza virus infections||Applied for approval|
|Prevnar 13 adult||Pfizer||Prevention of pneumococcal infection in the elderly||3|
|Simplirix||GlaxoSmithKline||Herpes simplex virus||3|
|Source: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America|
CVS’ future rests on front-end, private-label evolution
NEW YORK CVS Caremark has no doubt been a trailblazer in the healthcare arena, positioning itself along the front lines to leverage its various points of care to improve outcomes and lower healthcare costs. But with all that CVS Caremark has done and will continue to do in the healthcare space — and it is no doubt a lot — it still has more than 7,000 retail locations, and the front of the store continues to be a critical part of its business and a major growth driver for the company.
(THE NEWS: At his last analyst day, Ryan sets out course for future CVS Caremark. For the full story, click here)
The front end is an $18 billion business for CVS and to be sure the company continues to look for ways to drive even more productivity out of its stores. It comes as no surprise that one area it will target for additional growth is private label. Private-label penetration currently stands at 17%, and over the next two to three years, company executives expect that number to grow to more than 20%.
"Private-label brands continue to grow and evolve. In this economy, consumers have shown that they are much more willing to try private-label products," Mike Bloom, EVP merchandising and supply chain, told analysts during Friday’s 2010 analyst meeting in New York. He noted that by the end of 2010, CVS/pharmacy will have nearly 5,100 private-label items storewide, which is an increase of 900 items versus last year. Each year, the company adds about 900 new private-label items and leverages ExtraCare to encourage trials among cardholders.
What is news, particularly to suppliers, is that a key component of CVS’ private-label program is an entirely new line that the company plans to introduce in February 2011, called Just The Basics — named to clearly communicate its functional, value-priced, smart, simplicity positioning. What is significant is that the new line is not a national-brand-equivalent type execution, but rather, more of a basic entry-point, low-price alternative.
"Now, while many retailers are stuck in the brand-follower mode of the 1980s, we have evolved to a leadership role," Bloom said.
The company also is increasingly turning to "treasure hunt" items and is using its circulars to drive front-end sales. For example, it recently promoted a WiFi-capable Netbook for $99.99 on the front page of its circular. While a Netbook isn’t your traditional drug store product offering, it has proven to be a hit among shoppers. CVS sold $3 million worth of Netbooks in three weeks, and it will be a $15 million item at CVS, the company said.
Then there’s beauty. As the article states, CVS is piloting a mini format of its Healthy Skincare Centers (in 120 stores) and will launch in January an ExtraCare Beauty Club.
Clearly the front end continues to be a significant growth driver for CVS and that will continue to be the case for a long time to come.
Natural rodent repellant Fresh Cab available at retail
BISMARCK, N.D. An all-natural rodent repellant continues to gain a stronger retail presence with more than 3 million pouches sold, which come in convenient four-pack boxes.
Earth-Kind’s Fresh Cab, created by gardener and environmentalist Warberg Block, uses ground corn cobs soaked in essential botanical oils and packaged in small biodegradable pouches.
Fresh Cab is sold at 15,000 home, garden, hardware and farm and ranch stores throughout the nation.