PHARMACY

GSK offers free vaccines to uninsured adults

BY Alaric DeArment

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. GlaxoSmithKline is offering its vaccines free of charge to low-income adults, the British drug maker announced Monday.

 

The GSK Vaccines Access Program offers adult vaccines for diseases such as hepatitis, tetanus and human papillomavirus for adults ages 19 years and older who lack health insurance coverage for vaccines.

 

 

“Vaccines are one of the most effective ways we can prevent and fight disease, and subsequently drive down the cost of health care in the United States,” GSK president for North America Pharmaceuticals Deirdre Connelly said. “Unfortunately, vaccines are severely underutilized by American adults.”

 

 

Children up through the age of 18 years are eligible to receive free vaccines under a separate program, Vaccines for Children, which receives federal funding.

 

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FDA committee to review Qnexa

BY Alaric DeArment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. A Food and Drug Administration committee will review a drug by Vivus for obesity, the drug maker announced Friday.

The company said the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee was tentatively scheduled to review its application for Qnexa (phentermine and topiramate) on July 15. Vivus submitted its approval application for the drug in late December and expects the FDA to complete its review in October.

“Review by the advisory committee represents a critical milestone for Qnexa and for Vivus,” Vivus CEO Leland Wilson said in a statement. “We believe Qnexa, if approved, could become a treatment option for obese patients.”

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Op-ed on healthcare reform calls for expanded role of nurse practitioners in Texas

BY Allison Cerra

SAN ANTONIO An opinion piece written for the San Antonio Express-News urges health reform in Texas and the need for nurse practitioners to be "given the right to diagnose and prescribe on their own," as done in retail clinics.

 

"Texas has only a few retail clinics; San Antonio doesn’t have any. The problem is cost," David Hendricks wrote Tuesday. "In Texas, state law requires doctors to be on site for 20% of operating hours in urban areas. In rural and designated medically underserved areas, a doctor must review 10% of a clinic’s charts every 10 days. The cost of physician oversight is too high for [the Walgreens and CVS chains], along with the retail clinic companies, to roll out full market coverage in Texas."

 

Hendricks does, however, point out retail clinics’ cost-effectiveness, citing the acceptance of health insurance plans, with fees capped at less than $100.

 

"Healthcare reform won’t mean as much as it could in Texas until this change (expanding the role of nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists) happens," Hendricks concluded.

 

 

To view Hendricks’ piece, click here.

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