PHARMACY

FDA using pharmaceutical market research to track influenza treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration is using prescription data from a pharmaceutical market research firm to track treatment of A-H1N1 and other influenza viruses.

Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions announced Wednesday that the FDA would use its weekly updates to see who was using the four most popular oral antiviral drugs — Roche’s Tamiflu (oseltamivir), GlaxoSmithKline’s Relenza (zanamivir), Forest Labs’ Flumadine (rimantadine) and Endo Pharmaceuticals’ Symmetrel (amantadine), the latter two of which are available in generic form — and identify clusters where large numbers of people use them.

“The FDA is using our prescription data as a means of tracking the treatment of populations affected by flu outbreaks, including the H1N1 virus, and the specific medications being used to treat them,” Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions CEO Mark Spiers said in a statement. “The data are typically not more than five days old upon delivery.”

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GSK drug approved for kidney cancer treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug from GlaxoSmithKline to treat advanced kidney cancer.

The FDA announced the approval of Votrient (pazopanib) treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma designed to be taken once a day. The approval is based on phase-3 trial data showing that the drug reduced the risk of tumor progression or cancer-related death by 54% compared to placebo.

 

“RCC is the most common malignancy of the kidney and is highly resistant to chemotherapy,” GSK Oncology R&D Unit SVP Paolo Paoletti said in a statement. “While treatment has improved in the past few years with the introduction of targeted therapies, advanced RCC remains a challenging disease.”

 

RCC affects more than 57,000 people and kills 13,000 in the United States every year.

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Washington pharmacists can prescribe antiviral drugs, if flu pandemic hits

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE Should a major outbreak of pandemic flu hit Washington state, pharmacists there will be able to prescribe antiviral drugs, under an agreement between pharmacy groups and state health officials.

According to the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, or NWCPHP, an organization in the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, a team from NWCPHP, the Washington State Pharmacy Association and other groups developed a template collaborative drug therapy agreement for the medications under contract with the Washington State Department of Health, supported by money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new protocol is intended to go into effect when local health officers authorize it.

Information about the protocol for pharmacists is available at www.nwcphp.org/centers-projects/cdta.

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