PHARMACY

Genentech presents positive study results at ASCO meeting

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. Positive results of phase 2 and phase 3 studies of a cancer-fighting monoclonal antibody are among the subjects that biotech company Genentech plans to present at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 45th annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Key study results will include positive phase 3 results for Herceptin (trastuzumab) in advanced HER2-positive stomach cancer and phase 2 data in metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer with trastuzumab-DM1, which uses Herceptin’s antibody to deliver a specialized cancer cell-killing agent to tumor cells. The company will also present data from two phase 3 studies of Avastin (bevacizumab), one that studied the drug as a treatment for early-stage colon cancer and another that investigated a combination of the drug with Tarceva (erlotinib) as a first-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.

 

“By focusing on the biology of cancer, we are able to create potential new therapies that uniquely target the disease, impede multiple growth triggers and can be used at different times during the course of treatment,” Genentech chief medical officer and EVP global development Hal Barron stated. “Biomarker research is involved in each of our cancer development programs in order to help us identify which patients may respond best to our medicines.”

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NACDS, NCPA praise Senate’s inclusion of Medicaid reimbursement relief in healthcare reform proposal

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two organizations have praised the Senate Finance Committee’s inclusion of Medicaid reimbursement relief in its healthcare reform proposals.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association hailed the inclusion of the policy by committee chairman Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

“While this process is only beginning, and legislation is being crafted, we are pleased that chairman Baucus, senator Grassley and Finance Committee members have recognized the implications on patient access that threaten the ability of pharmacies to provide healthcare services to the neediest populations, especially those in rural and inner-city areas with higher percentages of Medicaid patients,” NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson and NCPA executive VP and CEO Bruce Roberts said in a joint statement.

The proposal would increase the percentage of the federal upper limits from 250% to 300% of the weighted average of the most recent average manufacturer prices for pharmaceutically and therapeutically equivalent multiple-source drugs available nationally through commercial pharmacies.

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Pfizer develops free medication program for unemployed Americans

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Amid an economic environment of increasing unemployment, a large drug maker has started a program to offer medicines to unemployed Americans for free.

Pfizer announced the MAINTAIN plan to help eligible unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their health insurance continue receiving Pfizer medicines for free.

“We all know people who have been laid off recently and have lost their health insurance, making it difficult for them to pay for health care,” Pfizer regional president worldwide pharmaceuticals Jorge Puente stated. “We thought there must be some way we could help recently unemployed people who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment during these challenging economic times.”

The program, whose name stands for Medicines Assistance for Those who Are In Need, will be open for enrollment through Dec. 31 for Americans who have become unemployed since Jan. 1, regardless of prior family income.

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