PHARMACY

GSK annouces that Rotarix could be added to routine infant vaccines, pending FDA approval

BY Drew Buono

CHICAGO GlaxoSmithKline has announced that their drug Rotarix, an oral vaccine for infants to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis, has a chance of being co-administered with routine infant vaccines, if the Food and Drug Administration approves it.

The news data showed that the vaccine does not interfere with immune responses to other vaccines currently included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s schedule of recommended immunizations for infants. The information is from a Phase III clinical trial that was presented at a conference in Chicago.

“These co-administration data indicate that GSK’s rotavirus candidate vaccine could be integrated into the current infant immunization schedule in the U.S.,” said Remon Abu-Elyazeed, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Clinical Development, Vaccines for Virus Diseases, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals. “If the candidate vaccine is approved, infants could complete the rotavirus vaccine series by four months of age.”

In the U.S. each year, 2.7 million children younger than five years of age suffer from rotavirus disease, resulting in 410,000 clinic visits and up to 272,000 emergency room visits.  In addition, between 55,000 and 70,000 children are hospitalized each year and 20-60 die.

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PHARMACY

CIGNA debuts online Rx pricing guide for patients

BY Jim Frederick

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. Big insurance and pharmacy benefits management company CIGNA HealthCare has launched an updated version of its online Prescription Drug Price Quote tool for its health and PBM plan members as a price-comparison guide.

The web-based guide is available on the My Plans—Pharmacy page at www.mycigna.com. It offers Cigna Pharmacy members real-time, plan-specific cost comparisons for generic, brand name and available therapeutic alternative medications at 57,000 U.S. pharmacies, according to the health plan giant.

“Rather than relying on national average or regional discount information on retail pharmacy prices, the tool displays side-by-side comparisons of exactly what members would pay for brand named medications, available generics and low cost therapeutic options…based on their benefit plan, as well as the total cost of each medication,” Cigna noted in a statement.

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Rexahn receives patent for Zoraxel

BY Drew Buono

ROCKVILLE, Md. Rexahn Pharmaceuticals has received a U.S. Patent for the treatment of sexual dysfunction with its leading drug candidate RX-10100 IR, also known as Zoraxel.

Zoraxel is a drug that enhances neurotransmitters in the brain, both of which play key roles in sexual motivation, erection, and release. This would be the first drug to effect all three phases of sexual activity.

Commenting on today’s news, Chang H. Ahn, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, noted, “This latest patent coverage for Zoraxel significantly strengthens our patent estate. When added to the four CNS-related U.S. patents and two anti-cancer patents already secured, this represents another key milestone for the Company as we move forward with the clinical development for this promising new drug.”

The company plans to initiate a Phase II trial for Zoraxel by the end of this year.

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