PHARMACY

Graceway receives regulatory approval for Zyclara

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Graceway Pharmaceuticals for actinic keratoses, Graceway said.

The agency approved Zyclara (imiquimod) cream in the 2.5% strength for AK, a precancerous lesion that affects about 10 million Americans and can develop into skin cancer later on.

“The addition of a 2.5% formulation of Zyclara cream will provide healthcare practitioners greater flexibility when prescribing imiquimod therapy for patients with actinic keratoses,” New York University Medical Center dermatology professor and former American Academy of Dermatology president Darrell Rigel said. “The lower concentration offers greater tolerability while maintaining the efficacy that has been long associated with imiquimod.”

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Six drug makers OKed to produce flu vaccines

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new influenza vaccine formulation for the 2011-2012 flu season, the agency said Monday.

The FDA said six manufacturers are licensed to produce vaccines. These include GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, manufacturing Fluarix; CSL Limited, manufacturing Afluria; ID Biomedical, manufacturing FluLaval; MedImmune Vaccines, manufacturing FluMist; Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, manufacturing Fluvirin; and Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturing Fluzone.

“Vaccines to prevent seasonal influenza have a long and successful track record of safety and effectiveness in the United States,” FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research director Karen Midthun said. “It is important to get vaccinated every year, even if the strains in the vaccine do not change because the protection received the previous year will diminish over time and may be too low to provide protection into the next year.”

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Take Care enters collaboration with LSU Health Sciences Center, Healthcare Network

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW ORLEANS — Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has entered a collaborative agreement with Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and LSU Healthcare Network to enhance coordination of care in the greater New Orleans region.

"At Walgreens and Take Care Health Systems, we are committed to working with leading health systems like LSUHN to provide patients with increased access and a more seamless healthcare experience," said Heather Helle, divisional VP for Walgreens Consumer Solutions Group. "This collaboration will help ensure that we are utilizing the full capabilities of both organizations to benefit the patients and providers of the New Orleans community — which is our ultimate goal."

Components of the relationship will include:

  • Development of an interface between each organization’s electronic health record system to enable effective scheduling and information sharing between organizations;

  • Opportunities for students in the LSUHSC Nurse Practitioner Training Program to precept at Take Care Clinics in the New Orleans area;

  • Take Care Clinic participation in LSUHN’s development of a regional medical plan for certain noninsured working persons;

  • Establishment of a new Take Care Clinic in close proximity to the LSU Health Sciences Center; and

  • Participation of LSUHSC and LSUHN physicians as collaborating physicians for Take Care Clinics in the region.

In addition, LSUHN health professionals will share information on Take Care Clinics and other healthcare options when their locations are closed or they are unable to schedule an appointment within a patient’s desired time frame. Professionals at LSUHN-affiliated practices will have access to information on Take Care Clinic locations, evening and weekend hours, and services available to patients and their families.

Take Care Health Systems currently operates four locations in the greater New Orleans community.

According to research published in the September 2010 issue of Health Affairs, between 13.7% and 27.1% of emergency department visits could take place at retail clinics or urgent care centers, with a potential cost savings of $4.4 billion annually. According to this research, retail clinics, such as Take Care Clinics at select Walgreens, have been shown to save patients $279 to $460 per visit, compared with emergency department costs.

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