PHARMACY

FDA approves Aurobindo’s generic Actonel

BY David Salazar

DAYTON, N.J. — Aurbindo Pharma on Thursday announced that the Food and Drug Administration had approved its generic of Actonel (risedronate sodium) tablets. The drug, which is indicated to treat osteoporosis, will be available in 5-, 30- and 35-mg dosage strengths. 
 
The drug had about $185.4 million in U.S. sales for the 12 months ended September 2015, according to IMS Health data. 
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PHARMACY

DSN, higi crown October’s ‘Fit Pharmacists’

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — Drug Store News in partnership with higi, a leading provider of health-tracking technology solutions, proudly announced the winners of the second edition of the Fit Pharmacist Challenge series, which was held in October. 

First introduced by DSN and higi in June, the online series of fitness-tracking competitions rewards pharmacists for modeling healthy behavior for their patients, by logging the most miles in a given challenge period.

The grand prize $500 American Express gift card went to Walgreens pharmacist Ronald Miller, who logged more than 150 miles during the October Fit Pharmacist Challenge, which was sponsored by Pharmavite. Runners-up — each of which won a $100 American Express gift card — included Gerbes (Kroger) pharmacist Amanda Haase, Target pharmacist Amelia Blythe, and Costco pharmacist Cheryl Dumond.

“Pharmacists are one of the top three most trusted health professionals consumers turn to most often for trusted advice,” said higi CMO Sheila McCormick. “They are at the front lines of health care everyday, so they have a unique ability to help individuals make healthier choices. Higi is very excited to partner again with DSN to promote the second DSN/higi Fit Pharmacist Challenge, which was created to engage, empower and reward pharmacists and their staff to track their activity and health stats.“

DSN is happy to work along with higi to bring another Fit Pharmacist Challenge to America’s retail pharmacists and retail healthcare teams,” noted DSN group publisher Wayne Bennett. “We are also excited to have the Nature Made brand of vitamins and nutritional supplements as our partner for this challenge. The mission of our Fit Pharmacist Challenge is to align these partners who focus on wellness solutions and optimal health.”

“Pharmacists play an important role in patients’ lives and leading by example is always very important — this is why Nature Made is excited to sponsor the Fit Pharmacist Challenge,” said Tim Toll, chief customer officer at Pharmavite, makers of Nature Made. 

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Emerging pharmacogenetic testing could be big boon for early adopters

BY Michael Johnsen

RENO, Nev. — Pharmacogenetic testing represents a new tool for pharmacists that has the potential to optimize the specific medicines their patients are taking, identify the best dose of that medicine for the individual patient and also create a record of those optimized medicines and dosing recommendations for hundreds of medicines that can be kept on file for future reference. 
 
"Just like drug-drug interaction and drug-allergy interaction, this is drug-gene interaction," Chuck Dushman, VP sales MD Labs, said. "The pharmacies that lock up these patients first are going to have an advantage."
 
This kind of emerging technology has the potential to transform how medicines are prescribed and filled, Dushman added. 
 
For example, the liver enzyme known as CYP2D6 acts on a quarter of all prescription drugs, including the painkiller codeine, which it converts into the drug’s active form, morphine. The CYP2D6 gene exists in more than 160 different versions, many of which vary by only a single difference in their DNA sequence, although some have larger changes. 
 
The majority of these variants don’t affect drug responses.
 
Some people have hundreds or even thousands of copies of the CYP2D6 gene (typically, people have two copies of each gene). Those with extra copies of this gene manufacture an overabundance of CYP2D6 enzyme molecules and metabolize the drug very rapidly. As a result, codeine may be converted to morphine so quickly and completely that a standard dose of the drug can be an overdose.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, some variants of CYP2D6 result in a nonfunctional enzyme. People with these variants metabolize codeine slowly, if at all, so they might not experience much pain relief. For these people, doctors might prescribe a different type of pain reliever. 
 
One major study cited by American Nurse Today found incorrect dosing accounted for 42% of adverse reactions while genetic factors caused approximately 50%. 
 
According to a study published in the Clinical Trends in Molecular Medicine, there is a significant segment of the population for which a particular drug is ineffective. For example, 38% of prescribed antidepressants are deemed ineffective. The percentage of other populations for which particular drugs are ineffective include: 
 
  • 40% asthma;
  • 43% diabetes;
  • 50% arthritis;
  • 70% alzheimers; and
  • 75% cancer. 
To date, MD Labs' RxIGHT is the most comprehensive pharmacogenetic test available, covering more than 200 medications across 14 therapeutic categories. And that's not a static number – more manufacturers are expected to conduct pharmacogenetic tests for their prescription products going forward. 
 
One of the advantages associated with the RxIGHT Pharmacogenetic Test is the patient's genetic profile is measured against the full battery of medications. So the test, taken once, can help optimize future prescriptions. 
 
MD Labs' RxIGHT Pharmacogenetic Test puts the pharmacist front and center in pharmacogenetics, helping elevate their role as clinical advisor to their patient and their physician partners. The MD Labs program utlizes a Personalized Medication Review as the mechanism for helping the patient understand the implication of the RxIGHT test results on not ony their current medication needs, but also how the RxIGHT test can help optimize future pharamceutical therapies. 
 
"It is just eye-opening for these patients as to the impact their genetic profile has on their current medications," Dushman said. "And now that pharmacy has the genetic profile and the implications for future medications. So when [the patient] has another medication need, why would they go anywhere else?"
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