PHARMACY

FDA approves Impax’s generic Intuniv

BY David Salazar

HAYWARD Calif. — Impax Laboratories announced Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration had approved its generic version of Shire’s Intuniv (guanfacine) extended-release tablets.

The drug is indicated to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents ages 6 to 17. The drug will be available from Impax in 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-mg dosage strengths.

For the 12 months ended August 2015, brand and generic sales of guanfacine extended-release tablets were about $689 million. 

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FDA approves new hyperkalemia drug

BY David Salazar

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration Thursday announced that it had approved Relypsa’s Veltassa (patiromer) for oral suspension. The drug is indicated to treat hyperkalemia, which is the presence of too much potassium in the blood and typically occurs among patients with kidney disease, or heart failure.

“We are very excited to bring people with hyperkalemia the first new medicine in more than 50 years,” Relypsa president and CEO John A. Orwin. “The FDA approval of Veltassa represents approximately a decade of research by dedicated scientists and doctors, and underscores Relypsa's commitment to developing polymer-based treatments for people with conditions that are often overlooked and undertreated.” 

Veltassa, which is powdered, is mixed with water and taken by mouth. The drug works by binding potassium in the gastrointestinal tract, and the potassium is then excreted through the body through the normal excretion process. Veltassa was approved with a boxed warning, which recommends taking Veltassa and another oral medication six hours apart because it can bind to orally taken drugs and reduce their absorption, the FDA said. 

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Is Humana’s new Rx price tool a game changer?

BY Michael Johnsen

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Pharmacy/physician collaborative practice models may have just gotten a shot in the arm with the announcement Thursday morning that Humana, which will cover a projected 13.1 million lives following its acquisition by Aetna, will be launching a real-time prescription drug benefit service that gives doctors information about their Humana patients’ drug coverage, pricing and network pharmacy options all while the patient is in the exam room.
 
Delivered to physicians through DrFirst’s myBenefitCheck, the IntelligentRx service provides doctors with patient-specific prescription price information at the time the prescription is being written. The service is expected to reduce the impact of cost on medication access and adherence by helping doctors and patients consider medication cost as part of their drug therapy regimen, the company said. 
 
DrFirst’s medication management technology is integrated with the electronic medical records used by many doctors during patient visits. When a doctor chooses a medication to prescribe, they are presented with information from Humana through DrFirst’s e-prescribing interface, including drug coverage and cost, potential alternative therapies and nearby retail pharmacies and mail order pharmacies in the patient’s network. Drug and allergy alerts are also presented during e-prescribing, helping reduce potential adverse drug events.
 
Humana Pharmacy president William Fleming says helping doctors make more informed prescribing decisions is key to medication access and adherence, and therefore critical to improving clinical outcomes.
 
“This is a big step forward in closing the gaps in the health care system, using transparency and technology to create a better health care experience,” Fleming said. “Real-time information provided by the IntelligentRx service is a perfect example of how we can help doctors proactively deliver better care, more affordably, to their patients.”
 
“The cost of medications is a known contributor to patient medication non-adherence,” DrFirst president Cameron Deemer said. “With myBenefitCheck, it’s as if the doctor is going along with the patient to the pharmacy, helping to select the best medication and pharmacy for patients based on their prescription drug coverage. This technology helps doctors choose the best course of action to support medication adherence and patient outcomes.”
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