FDA approves Nulojix
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for preventing organ rejection in kidney transplant patients, the agency said Wednesday.
The FDA approved Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Nulojix (belatacept), for preventing acute rejection in adult patients. The drug is approved for use with other immune system-suppressing drugs, specifically Novartis’ Simulect (basiliximab), Genentech’s CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) and corticosteroids.
“Nulojix is a new option for kidney transplant patients,” FDA Office of Antimicrobial Products director Edward Cox said. “This new medication, used in combination with other immunosuppressants, helps control the immune system and prevents organ rejection in patients receiving kidney transplants.”
According to BusinessWeek, analyst John Boris said that while Nulojix’s market is limited, he expects the drug to have sales of about $350 million in 2015. About 17,000 to 18,000 kidney transplants are performed in the United States per year, while more than 86,000 patients were awaiting transplants as of March 2010, according to the National Institutes of Health.
NACDS, NCPA urge preservation of pharmacy access, choice for Tricare beneficiaries
WASHINGTON — There are better ways to reduce expenses for Tricare beneficiaries than to restrict access to community pharmacy. What’s more, Congress should adopt alternative cost-saving strategies, including utilizing local pharmacists.
That was a key message in an op-ed co-authored by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association and published June 13 in The Hill’s Congress Blog.
Tricare, the Department of Defense healthcare plan for military families and veterans, strongly encourages the use of mail order by allowing beneficiaries to obtain three times more medication from mail order as from retail for the same copayment.
Furthermore, the DoD has made it clear that come October, it will further encourage mail order by increasing copayments for retail pharmacy.
"Community pharmacy is part of the solution in containing costs and improving health. In fact, pharmacies have worked for years to save money in Tricare and other health programs, by promoting affordable alternatives, such as the appropriate use of generic drugs. Generic medications, on average, cost one-sixth as much as brand name drugs," NACDS and NCPA stated in the op-ed.
"One approach supported by NACDS and NCPA is to encourage Tricare beneficiaries to use generic medications from retail pharmacies. Another cost-saving approach is to better promote the prevention services offered by community pharmacies for people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes. Pharmacists can help patients take their medications in the most safe and effective ways — also known as medication adherence — which is an important benefit of having the opportunity to choose where to fill prescription medication," NACDS and NCPA stated.
NACDS and NCPA argued that the bill should offer Tricare beneficiaries "a level playing field in how they choose to receive their prescription medications," and recommends that Congress adopt alternative cost-saving strategies, such as leveraging the services and expertise of local pharmacists.
Lewis Drug VP honored by SDPhA
PIERRE, S.D. — Lewis Drug’s VP professional services William "Bill" Ladwig has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 Hustead Award by the South Dakota Pharmacists Association, Lewis Drug has announced.
Ladwig, who has worked for Lewis Drug for 33 years, was selected by his peers in honor of the dedication and service he has shown toward the profession of pharmacy. The award was presented to Ladwig at the association’s recent 125th Annual Convention at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Hustead Award recognizes contributions or service during a career for significant accomplishments that impact the profession in a positive manner. The Hustead Award stresses both the individual’s professional career and the impact they have made on the profession, as well as their community service and personal activities.
"Bill has demonstrated the dedication, resourcefulness, service and caring that has made pharmacy one of the most respected professions in our country," SDPhA president Earl Hinricher said.
Ladwig has participated in numerous committees, including the syringe disposal program with Minnehaha County and the Sioux Falls VA Medical Center; Melanoma Monday Detections Screening; and Growing Healthy Initiative to combat childhood obesity, where they changed the school meal program and promoted healthy food awareness and exercise. Ladwig also received the Hammer Award from former vice president Al Gore. His roles also were crucial in the Sioux Falls first mass immunization program and, most recently, "The Big Squeeze," for high blood pressure awareness and detection.