PHARMACY

FDA approves Gilead’s hepatitis C drug Epclusa

BY David Salazar
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved Gilead Sciences’ Epclusa (sofosbuvir 400 mg/velpatasvir 100 mg), the company announced earlier this week. Epclusa is a single tablet treatment for adults with genotype 1-6 chronic hepatitis and for patients with hepatitis C genotype 2 and 4 without the need for ribavirin. The drug for 12 weeks was approved for use in patients without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis and in combination with ribavirin. 
 
“Today’s approval represents a significant advance for patients with HCV genotypes 2 and 3, who previously required more complex and costly regimens,” said John Milligan, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Gilead. “As the first and only pan-genotypic cure for hepatitis C, Epclusa has the potential to eliminate the need for genotype testing, which can be a barrier to treatment in certain resource-constrained settings. We look forward to making Epclusa available to patients around the world as quickly as possible.”
 
Epclusa received Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy designations from the FDA. 
 
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RediClinic boosts health alliances

BY Richard Monks

In recent months, RediClinic — which operates 43 clinics in Rite Aid stores in the Philadelphia, Baltimore/Washington, D.C., and Seattle markets, as well as 35 clinics in H-E-B grocery stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio — has continued to form alliances with local healthcare providers. The company continues to strengthen its ability to offer convenient health care to more patients through its partnerships with local healthcare providers.

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One of the most recent of these alliances came in February when RediClinic and Aria Health, a large healthcare provider in eastern Pennsylvania, teamed up on a deal that the companies say will offer greater convenience, increased access and more affordable healthcare to residents in these markets.

Earlier, RediClinic struck a similar deal with the Seattle-area not-for-profit healthcare organization MultiCare Health System that has seen the companies jointly operate 11 RediClinics inside Rite Aid pharmacies in the Puget Sound region.

RediClinic CEO Web Golinkin has said that partnerships like these coupled with Rite Aid’s heritage as a healthcare provider signals a bright future for RediClinic. The company already has provided nearly 2 million patients with easy access to high-quality, affordable health care, and that number should only continue to rise in the coming years.

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Wellness, preventive care offered at Walmart Care Clinics

BY Richard Monks

While Walmart has more than 100 clinics in its more than 5,000 stores nationwide, company executives said the walk-in health centers offer a cost-effective way for patients to receive acute and chronic medical care. As a result, the company plans to expand its network of clinics over the next few years.

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“We believe that consumers are going to want their healthcare delivered to them anywhere, anyway and any how they choose,” Jill Turner-Mitchael, SVP overseeing health and wellness for the company’s Sam’s Club unit said earlier this year at a meeting of the Northwest Arkansas Council’s Health Care Summit.

Executives said Walmart’s clinics fit in with the company’s broader effort to provide a comprehensive range of health services and give consumers more flexibility on how they get care.

Walmart’s model goes beyond basic acute care and offers more services normally associated with a primary care provider, such as wellness and preventive care and management of chronic conditions.

Walmart’s clinics include 79 outlets that are independently owned by local hospitals and healthcare groups, and operate under the Clinic at Walmart banner. Six clinics in Wisconsin operate under the Aurora Quick Care name.

Meanwhile, a little over two years ago, the company opened 18 Care Clinics. These corporate-owned clinics — five in Georgia, five in South Carolina and eight in Texas — are expected to be the first in a growing network of clinics owned and operated by Walmart.

Walmart’s commitment to its clinics was underscored last year when the company named retail clinic pioneer Sandy Ryan to lead its Care Clinic business.

The former chief nurse practitioner officer for Take Care/Walgreens Healthcare Clinic who is credited with playing a central role in getting that venture off the ground, Ryan has been involved in health clinics for more than a quarter of a century. As chairwoman of the Clinical Advisory Board of the Convenient Care Association, she was instrumental in developing the trade group’s Quality and Safety Standards and implementing a third-party certification process for these standards.

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