Hospira enrolls first patient in biosimilar trial

BY Alaric DeArment

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Generic drug maker Hospira has enrolled the first patient in a late-stage clinical trial of a biosimilar drug for treating kidney disease.

The company said the phase-3 trial of biosimilar EPO (erythropoietin) would compare its product with Amgen’s Epogen in patients with kidney dysfunction who have anemia. The trial, which will enroll about 1,000 patients who already have taken Epogen, follows a phase-1 trial that ended last year, and results of the late-stage trial are expected next year.

"Patient enrollment in our phase-3 EPO program is another important step as Hospira prepares to introduce safe, effective and affordable biosimilars in the United States," Hospira chief science officer and SVP research and development and medical and regulatory affairs Sumant Ramachandra said. "We look forward to offering U.S. patients access to these important medications."

Along with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Sandoz, Hospira sells biosimilars in Europe, where they already have been legal for a few years. There, it markets a version of EPO called Retacrit, which it launched in 2008, and in 2010, it launched Nivestim (filgrastim), a biosimilar version of Amgen’s Neupogen, used to treat neutropenia, a condition often caused by cancer drugs that causes the body to make too few white blood cells. It also launched Nivestim in Australia last year.

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M.BARNES says:
Jan-13-2012 10:16 pm

neutroppenia caused by cancer drugs!! This is a case where the operation was a successbut the patient died.My late daughter inlaw (succuimbed to brain cancer) was given the poly cocktail of cancer drugs-and including gamma ray directly to the brain.My dear friend (still surviving)after heavy dosing of anti cancer drugs for breast cancer-now has heart disease,copd,brittle teeth,arthritis--this poly pharmacy of cancer drugs has to be re-examined and more thoroughly evaluated.



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Premium offerings showcased at Walgreens’ Chicagoland flagship

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Walgreens on Tuesday brought the latest example of its flagship retail pharmacy to life here in Chicago, tantalizing its hometown crowd with departments most shoppers normally wouldn’t associate with a pharmacy: a fully stocked sushi bar, quick-and-fresh deli offerings and a self-serve yogurt bar adjacent to a juice bar that, along with the healthy-for-you selection of juice, offers the “double-rich chocolate malted milk” that the retailer invented in 1922.

(To see photos, click here for part 1, click here for part 2, click here for part 3 and click here for part 4.)

And that old Chicagoland taste can be found sprinkled through all the fresh and convenient food offerings — including fresh baked goods from nearby Lovely, Eli’s Original Cheesecake and Fanny May chocolates.

Across the first floor is an expansive gourmet wine store — new to the Walgreens format — replete with specialty cheeses and meats and two separate touchscreen kiosks — one that can help pair that perfect wine with that evening’s meal and the other to help break down all of the ingredients for that to-die-for cocktail.

Up the escalator to the second floor of the 22,000 sq. ft. in selling space is the latest Look Boutique with its nail salon, a Take Care Clinic and a "bridge" pharmacy, where the pharmacist no longer is tied to a mortar and pestle and instead is front-and-center with the patient. "[Our pharmacists] can actually begin to practice at the highest level of their license," Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions, told Drug Store News during a tour of the new store.

The Maybelline touchscreen beauty kiosk, originally featured at the 40 Wall St. location in New York, now is Facebook-enabled so users can share their latest looks with their closest 200 friends. Two endcaps across from the pharmacy also feature interactive touchscreens. One features information on smoking cessation, for example.

And all of the beauty and over-the-counter shelves are illuminated with LED lights, another new element, that at the same time presents a really fresh look and feel across the departments and affords older shoppers an easier time shopping — they can better read the labels.


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J.ROYAL says:
May-01-2012 01:26 am

Im no expert, but I believe you just made an excellent point. You certainly fully understand what youre speaking about, and I can truly get behind that. Thanks for staying so upfront and so sincere.

R.shweitzer says:
Apr-27-2012 06:49 am

Thanks for sharing. Good post.

jack1000 says:
Apr-04-2012 10:43 pm

I think being able to get into walgreens is so good. This is definitely the store that you want to be in. They are the cream of the crop when it comes to stores.

roger vincent says:
Feb-22-2012 01:16 am

This is a unique type of bar. This is a great example of the nice offerings. People in Chicago must be proud of themselves.

Jan-16-2012 08:56 pm

Another step toward reinventing the pharmacy of the future. With vision and innovations like this, Walgreens may be around to celebrate its second hundred years. Ron Hammerle Health Resources, Ltd. Tampa, Florida



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CVS Caremark study: Pharmacy Advisor improved diabetes Rx initiation, adherence rates

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — A CVS Caremark study found that the company’s integrated pharmacy-based program — Pharmacy Advisor — increased medication adherence rates and physician initiation of prescriptions for concomitant medications, improving care for diabetes patients and resulting in savings for health plans, the company announced on Monday.

Pharmacy Advisor promotes interactions between diabetes patients and pharmacists, either in face-to-face counseling or on the phone. The study entitled, "An Integrated Pharmacy-Based Program Improved Medication Prescription and Adherence Rates in Diabetes Patients," was published Monday in the January issue of Health Affairs and highlighted the central role pharmacists can play in improving the health of their patients.

"Ensuring adherence and appropriate treatment has long been the domain of primary care providers," stated Troyen A. Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, and lead author for the study. "However, as demands on the time of these providers increase, interventions carried out by pharmacists can complement primary care. Indeed, pharmacists are in the unique position to monitor patient adherence and effectively intervene when indicated." 

Brennan said the study also added insight into the problem of time-limited healthcare interventions. "This study showed that patients stay on their medications while they are actively counseled, but once those pharmacist-patient conversations ended, adherence fell quickly. We need to continue these kinds of interventions to make sure patients benefit from the full beneficial impact of their medications.”

Researchers from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital assisted the CVS Caremark researchers in the analysis of the pharmacy claims data of benefit members at a large Midwest manufacturing company and focused on interventions with diabetic patients between October 2009 and April 2010. The study included an intervention group of 5,123 people who were proactively counseled by retail and call center pharmacists and a control group of 24,124 patients with diabetes who did not receive specialized counseling. The researchers measured gains in patient adherence and medication initiation rates of concomitant therapies for diabetes, such as statins, angiotensen converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).

The research showed that contacts by pharmacists with the patients and their doctors increased therapy initiation rates by as much as 39% for the full sample and an even higher 68% for the group counseled at retail stores, and increased medication adherence rates by 2.1%. The researchers noted that face-to-face interventions by retail store pharmacists resulted in increasing adherence rates by 3.9%.

The integrated pharmacy-based program featured counseling by pharmacists at 12 retail stores near the manufacturing client’s headquarters, and counseling through a pharmacist call center for those identified as having diabetes. CVS Caremark launched Pharmacy Advisor for diabetes in 2009 because the cost and prevalence of that disease continues to rise. The American Diabetes Association estimates the cost of the disease to the U.S. in 2007 at $174 billion.

The study estimated that the employer saved more than $600,000 through healthcare cost avoidance with the intervention group, while expenditures for the counseling totaled $200,000, a return on investment of $3 for every $1 spent on additional counseling. "In a healthcare system eagerly seeking programs that can reduce costs and improve care, such simple, pharmacist-based counseling programs to improve adherence to existing medication regimens and initiate missing therapies should be of great value," the researchers concluded.

The Pharmacy Advisor program is being expanded in 2012 to include counseling for patients with cardiovascular disease, in addition to the more than 12 million members who are part of the diabetes-focused counseling.

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