PHARMACY

FDA approves Sciele-Novo diabetes drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. and ATLANTA The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug developed by Sciele Pharma and Novo Nordisk to treat Type-2 diabetes, the two companies announced Tuesday.

The drug, PrandiMet, is a fixed-dose combination Prandin and the insulin sensitizer metformin approved to lower blood glucose in adults with Type-2 diabetes for whom metformin alone or meglitinide don’t reduce hyperglycemia.

The two companies announced an agreement last November under which Sciele Pharma would obtain exclusive rights to market Prandin and, upon FDA approval, PrandiMet.

Novo Nordisk reported sales of oral anti-diabetic products, including Prandin, as $134 million for the first quarter of this year.

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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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