FDA approves Vertex’s Kalydeco for cystic fibrosis
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Vertex Pharmaceuticals for treating a rare form of cystic fibrosis, the agency said Tuesday.
The FDA announced the approval of Kalydeco (ivacaftor) for treating patients ages 6 years and older with CF who have a mutation called G551D in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator gene.
CF is a serious disorder that leads to an early death by causing thick mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract and other parts of the body, eventually leading to respiratory and digestive problems and such complications as infections and diabetes. Of the 30,000 people in the United States with the disease, about 1,200 are estimated to have the G551D mutation.
"Kalydeco is an excellent example of the promise of personalized medicine — targeted drugs that treat patients with a specific genetic makeup," FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said.
NACDS Foundation names winners of pharmacy student scholarship awards
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The charitable arm of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has announced the 2011 recipients of its pharmacy student scholarship awards.
The NACDS Foundation said a total of 58 scholarships were awarded, representing 42 colleges and schools of pharmacy.
“These students exemplify one of the key missions of the NACDS Foundation in supporting continuing education programs that focus on patient-centered care in the community pharmacy setting,” NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger said. “As the future of pharmacy, we applaud these students for their academic accomplishments, and are delighted to honor these exceptional students with scholarships to assist them in continuing their pharmacy education.”
Click here to view a full list of the pharmacy scholarship winners.
Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cut tentatively blocked by court
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California state officials tentatively are blocked from moving forward with a 10% Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cut.
The court decision, handed down by Judge Christina Snyder, was applauded by several organizations, including the California Medical Association, the California Dental Association, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the American Medical Response.
The groups — which filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Health Care Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in November 2011 after the federal government approved the reimbursement cut — said the California Medi-Cal rates already are extremely low and many prescription medications are reimbursed at breakeven rates, which means many providers cannot afford to participate.
"We commend the court’s tentative ruling in favor of preserving and protecting patient care," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. "Drastic cuts are not in the best interest of patient care or the state’s finances. Community pharmacies help to reduce healthcare spending and improve patient health through pharmacy services including medication counseling, vaccinations, education and screenings as well as the utilization of generic medications. Jeopardizing patient access to community pharmacy would diminish health and increase the reliance on more costly forms of care."
A final order is expected to follow.