PHARMACY

Egrifta receives regulatory approval

BY Allison Cerra

SILVER SPRING, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug for treating excess fat development in patients with HIV, the agency said Thursday.

 

The FDA approved Egrifta (tesamorelin) for treating HIV patients with lipodystrophy, a condition in which excess fat develops in different areas of the body, such as the abdominal organs. The condition is often a side effect of the retroviral drugs used to treat the disease.

 

 

The drug, the first FDA-approved treatment for the condition, is a growth hormone-releasing factor administered daily by injection. Montreal-based Theratechnologies developed the drug, while EMD Serono, the U.S. subsidiary of German drug maker Merck KGaA, markets it.

 

 

“The FDA recognizes the need for therapies to treat patients with HIV-lipodystrophy,” FDA Office of Drug Evaluation II director Curtis Rosebraugh said. “The presence of excess fat with this condition may contribute to other health problems, as well as affect a patient’s quality of life, so treatments that demonstrate they are safe and effective at treating these symptoms are important.”

 

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PHARMACY

Omicare splits business into long-term care, specialty care groups

BY Alaric DeArment

COVINGTON, Ky. A company that provides pharmaceutical care for the elderly is splitting its pharmacy services business into two divisions, hoping to make its services more effective and focused on customers.

 

Omnicare announced Wednesday the reorganization of its business into a long-term care group and a specialty care group. “This reorganization is part of our efforts to become a stronger operating company,” interim president and CEO James Shelton said. “We believe these structural changes will allow us to improve the customer experience and maximize growth opportunities through better coordination across the organization.”

 

 

The company’s specialty care group will comprise its specialty pharmacy and specialty pharmaceutical service businesses, hospice pharmacy, pharmaceutical case management and others. Nitin Sahney, who has headed Omnicare’s RxCrossroads business and previously managed a healthcare investment fund, will lead the group as president.

 

 

Omnicare SVP pharmacy operations Jeffrey Stamps will lead the long-term care business as EVP and president of long-term care operations.

 

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Rite Aid positions itself to assist seniors with Part D open enrollment

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Wednesday announced its pharmacists have been prepared to assist seniors during the 2011 Medicare Part D open enrollment period. With the first of the baby boomers officially turning 65 years old in 2011, more seniors are expected to hit drug stores looking for information about Part D options and open enrollment.

 

Open enrollment begins on Nov. 15.

 

 

Patients who are new to the Medicare Part D benefit, as well as those currently enrolled in a plan who are reviewing their selection to make sure it’s the best plan for them, can receive counseling from any Rite Aid pharmacist. Patients also can receive a personalized printed report featuring the three lowest-cost plans based on their current prescriptions filled at Rite Aid locations.

 

 

Medicare enrollees have until Dec. 31 to review their current plan or enroll in a new plan. Those eligible for the Medicare Part D benefit include people older than 65 years and those with disabilities.

 

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