PHARMACY

Dutch scientists: Widespread pharmacogenomics may be 5 years away

BY David Salazar

DÜSSELDORF, Germany ­— Promising news about the future of pharmacogenomics has emerged from the annual World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.  According to a plan presented by the Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association (KNMP) and the Dutch Hospital Pharmacists Association, community pharmacies could be offering pharmacogenomics services by 2020.

“Pharmacogenomics is one of the first clinical applications of the post-genomic era, allowing precision medicine rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to prescribing,” Dr. Ka-Chun Cheung, senior project manager at the KNMP’s department of health research and innovation, said.

The KNMP has been developing a plan for pharmacogenomics since 2005, and has created recommendations for 80 gene-drug combinations. These combinations have been integrated into the country’s drug database and e-prescribing and –dispensing systems.

“This means that clinical decision support for a group of medicines and for a limited, genetically tested group of patients is already possible,” Cheung said. The Netherlands is the world leader in pharmacogenetics. Other countries, including the USA, use our group’s recommendations. With these guidelines, pharmacists can customise the dosing of medicines to the individual’s needs.” 

Now, the country is piloting pharmacogenomics tests in pharmacies, though Cheung noted that a potential barrier to widespread pharmacogenomics availability in community pharmacy is IT infrastructure and the possible difficulties pharmacists might have with reimbursement for care and testing.

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PHARMACY

Vernalis acquires U.S. rights to Moxatag

BY David Salazar

BERWYN, Pa. — Vernalis Therapeutics has added a new drug to its portfolio. The company announced Friday that its parent company had acquired the U.S. rights to Pragma Pharmaceuticals’ Moxatag (amoxicillin) extended-release tablets. The company will oversee the drug’s sale, marketing and distribution in the U.S.

“The addition of Moxatag … further underscores Vernalis Therapeutics' commitment to building a commercial presence in the U.S. market,” the company’s SVP commercial operations Tom Parker said. “We look forward to re-launching the product in early 2016, and believe it will be a natural complement to our recently launched 12-hour codeine-based prescription medication,  Tuzistra XR, as both products offer patients and physicians an extended-release alternative to existing treatments.”

Moxatag is meant to treat  tonsillitis or secondary pharyngitis in adults and children 12 years of age and older. 

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Kaleo donates 50,000 naloxone auto-injectors

BY David Salazar

RICHMOND, Va. — Kaléo this week made a commitment to fighting opioid addiction. The company has pledged to donate 50,000 of its Evzio (naloxone) auto-injectors ahead of the UNITE to Face Addiction rally, which will take place on Oct. 4 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The company will donate the auto-injectors to local public health departments that it finds to have the greatest need.

"In the midst of a public health emergency surrounding addiction it is time for all of us to have improved resources,” said Greg Williams, co-founder of Facing Addiction, group organizing Sunday’s rally. “We are proud to be part of what we believe to be the largest donation of naloxone in history. It is time for all of us to collectively face addiction and this donation from kaléo will help save so many lives.”

The public health departments that receive the emergency overdose treatement will be determined based on research from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. HHS secretary Sylvia Burwell said the department is happy to work with the company on its kaléo Cares program, as it makes the only naloxone injector for caregivers and consumers.

“This unprecedented donation is designed to help make Evzio vailable to those without traditional insurance coverage who are being served by local public health departments determined to be in greatest need,” kaléo president and CEO Spencer Williamson said. “Since the launch of the kaléo Cares Product Donation Program last October, donated Evzio have contributed to more than 135 reported lives saved. We believe this latest donation will help save hundreds of people in the months ahead.”

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