PHARMACY

FDA approves Taiho Oncology’s Lonsurf

BY David Salazar

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced the approval of Taiho Oncology’s Lonsurf (trifluridine and tipiracil). The pill, a combination of two drugs, is intended to treat metastatic colorectal cancer that has stopped responding to other therapies. 

“The past decade has brought a new understanding around colorectal cancer, in how we can both detect and treat this often devastating disease,” said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “But there are many patients who still need additional options, and today’s approval is a testament to the FDA’s commitment to work with companies to develop new drugs in disease areas where unmet needs remain.” 

Lonsurf marks the first FDA approval for Taiho Oncology.

“Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, whose disease has progressed after treatment with standard therapies, have had limited therapeutic options to treat their disease,” Taiho president and CEO Eric Benn said. “Lonsurf helps address this unmet medical need by providing patients with a new therapeutic option that can help extend their overall survival.”

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Ritzman Pharmacy partners on ‘pharmacy of the future’ prototype

BY Michael Johnsen

WADSWORTH, Ohio — Ritzman Pharmacy has entered into an agreement with Pharmacy Innovations, an affiliate of Northeast Ohio Medical University, to create a “Pharmacy of the Future” with a planned opening in January 2016. The pharmacy will be located in the NEOMED Education and Wellness Center.
 
At the pharmacy patients will have access to a medical fitness facility, primary care services, physical therapy, medication management, all informed by a holistic approach to wellness.
 
“The pharmacy will serve as an incubator of innovation, bringing elements such as telemedicine and mobile health apps and devices, to our pharmacy that are not commonly seen,” Charles Taylor, dean of the College of Pharmacy at NEOMED and president of Pharmacy Innovations, said. “It will be an extraordinary model for educating pharmacy students.”
 
The College of Pharmacy at NEOMED formed Pharmacy Innovations to leverage interprofessional education, collaborative partnerships and the unversity’s expertise to improve the health of urban and rural communities through advanced pharmacist services.
 
“Education is important to personal health, and it’s a driving principle for Pharmacy Innovations and NEOMED,” Taylor said. “By building a place that allows our patients and customers to better adhere to their prescriptions and have access to services that promote better health outcomes, we’re furthering our mission with the help of a trusted community pillar in Ritzman Pharmacy.”
 
The partnership was spurred by Ritzman Pharmacy, which wanted to build a practice site that is more community-oriented and pharmacist-accessible.
 
“Emerging health care philosophies are increasingly focused on wellness and we couldn’t be more thrilled to lead in the pharmacy experience,” George Glatcz, Ritzman Pharmacy COO, said. “We believe this pharmacy will serve as a catalyst to advance pharmacy and primary care in the community, and it wouldn’t be possible without our partners at NEOMED.”
 
“This will be a pharmacy of the future,” Ritzman Pharmacy CEO Eric Graf said. “We are using this model in all of our pharmacy practices, where the pharmacist will be front and center, contributing to more engaged and impactful patient-centered care.”
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CVS/pharmacy expands access to naloxone in 12 states

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy on Wednesday expanded the availability of the opioid overdose reversal medicine naloxone in 12 states beyond Rhode island and Massachusetts — the two states where naloxone was already available without a prescription. 
 
“Over 44,000 people die from accidental drug overdoses every year in the United States and most of those deaths are from opioids, including controlled substance pain medication and illegal drugs such as heroin,” Tom Davis, VP pharmacy professional practices CVS/pharmacy, said. “Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by providing access to this medication in our pharmacies without a prescription in more states, we can help save lives," he said. "While all 7,800 CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide can continue to order and dispense naloxone when a prescription is presented, we support expanding naloxone availability without a prescription and are reviewing opportunities to do so in other states.”
 
The 12 states where CVS/pharmay is offering naloxone without a prescription include: Ark., Calif., Minn., Miss., Mont. , N.J., N.D., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Utah and Wisc.  
 
In addition, CVS Health is currently participating in a research project with Boston Medical Center and Rhode Island Hospital to support a demonstration project of pharmacy-based naloxone rescue kits to help reduce opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
 
CVS/pharmacy has also renewed its Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, in which it works with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to donate drug collection units to police departments around the country, helping communities safely dispose of unwanted medications — including controlled substances.
 
“Our Safer Communities program has donated more than 400 drug collection units to local law enforcement around the country since last year, resulting in almost seven tons of unused medication being collected in our communities,” Davis said. “We are pleased to continue this program with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and provide a permanent drug disposal solution at local police departments.”
 
The Drug Enforcement Administration will hold National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Sept. 26. On that day, hundreds of CVS/pharmacy locations around the country will host local law enforcement collection events in store parking lots from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.  
 
Other on-going initiatives at CVS/pharmacy to combat prescription drug abuse include:
  • Availability of postage-paid Environmental Return System envelopes at all of its pharmacies with which customers can send their unwanted medications for secure and environmentally-safe disposal;
  • Identification of physicians who exhibit extreme patterns of prescribing high risk drugs such as pain medications and suspension of dispensing their controlled substance prescriptions; and
  • Advocating at the federal and state levels to implement policy changes to curb prescription drug abuse, such as mandatory electronic prescribing of controlled substances and improved prescription drug monitoring programs.
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