PHARMACY

FDA approves new indication for Novartis’ Gleevec

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Novartis that is designed to prevent tumors in the gastrointestinal tract from recurring after surgical removal, the agency said.

The FDA approved Novartis’ Gleevec (imatinib) for adults who have had gastrointestinal stromal tumors, or GIST, removed. The drug was specifically approved for people whose tumors are known as CD117-positive, which includes 95% of all GIST tumors.

The drug was originally approved in 2001 for a type of leukemia.


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Savient appoints interim CEO

BY Allison Cerra

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A former Johnson & Johnson executive has been appointed to serve as interim CEO for Savient Pharmaceuticals.

Savient’s board of directors appointed David Norton to serve as interim CEO, succeeding current CEO John Johnson, who is leaving the company to become president, CEO and chairman-elect of biotechnology company Denderon. Savient’s board said it will conduct a search process for a permanent CEO.

Norton, who is a member of Savient’s board, formerly served as J&J company group chairman of global pharmaceuticals.

In related news, Louis Ferrari, Savient’s SVP North America commercial operations, has been promoted to the position of EVP and president of North America commercial operations.

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Walgreens’ Way to Well blood-pressure test pledge could net AHA $100,000

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday promised to donate $1 to the American Heart Association, up to $100,000, for each complimentary blood-pressure test conducted in February at a Walgreens pharmacy or Take Care Clinic. The push behind the initiatives is a part of Walgreens’ Way to Well Commitment, a four-year, $100 million commitment to disease prevention and to improving everyday health through education and early detection of today’s leading diseases, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

“Hypertension can be managed or controlled through early detection, which is why it’s so important for people to regularly have their blood pressure checked and monitored,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “Health tests are one of the many services our pharmacists and Take Care Clinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants offer while working to educate more people about simple, preventive steps to managing their health and helping them stay well.”

Tests are not done for diagnostic or treatment purposes, and individuals are advised to share their test results with their primary care physician.

Walgreens also offered free blood-pressure testing at all stores and Take Care Clinics throughout February 2011. During that time, more than 32,000 blood-pressure tests were conducted with more than 50% of those people testing out of the desired range.


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