PHARMACY

FDA approves GSK’s pediatric combination vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Most children dread the multiple booster shots they must receive to protect them against childhood diseases, but GlaxoSmithKline has combined four of the shots into one.

GSK announced Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration had approved Kinrix, a booster vaccine for kids aged 4 to 6 to protect them against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio with one shot.

Kinrix is approved for children who have already received GSK’s Infanrix, which covers DPT, or Pediarix, which covers DPT, polio and hepatitis B.

GSK’s announcement comes a day after Sanofi Pasteur’s announcement that the FDA had approved its 5-in-1 combination vaccine for DPT, polio and Haemophilas influenza type b.

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PHARMACY

Coventry taps Medco as PBM starting 2009

BY Adam Kraemer

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. Medco Health Solutions announced Monday that it would be providing Medicare pharmacy services for Bethesda, Md.-based Coventry Health Care, a national healthcare company.

“Coventry viewed our Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers as an important advantage for its members,” chairman and chief executive officer David Snow Jr. said. “Our specialist pharmacists help patients manage chronic conditions with a higher level of personalized care. The breadth of our service offerings and our capabilities to meet the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, while making overall health care costs more manageable, truly resonates with clients.”

Medco will be providing Coventry’s Medicare members with mail, retail and specialty pharmacy services starting Jan. 1, 2009. The approximately 1 million members enrolled represent an annual drug spend of more than $2 billion, Medco reported.

Medco last year introduced the Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers, at which more than 1,100 specialist pharmacists are trained and uniquely experienced to care for patients with specific chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, asthma and neurological disorders. Specialist pharmacists counsel patients about medication safety, minimizing side effects, improving drug compliance, and helping them find the lowest cost alternatives for their medications.

Medco is one of the top three pharmacy benefits managers in the U.S., along with CVS Caremark and Express Scripts. Details of the deal were not made public.

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API, MedeFile partner to market electronic medical records

BY Alaric DeArment

CEDAR KNOLLS, N.J. A company that gathers and digitizes medical records has granted a Florida marketing firm the right to market its memberships to American and Canadian consumers.

Under an agreement announced Monday, API Marketing will market MedeFile International’s memberships to shoppers at 100,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada, including pharmacies, health food stores, corner stores, convenience stores and gas stations.

The two companies will collaborate to create a MedeFile “rack card” available near check-out counters at participating stores, as well as storefront window stickers advertising MedeFile.

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