PHARMACY

Increase in specialty drugs leads to more FDA approvals in 2008

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Specialty medicines contributed to a large increase in drug approvals by the Food and Drug Administration in 2008, according to analysis by Bloomberg.

The news agency noted that the FDA approved 25 new drugs, compared to 19 in 2007, many of them treatments for rare diseases.

Some of the drugs included Amgen’s Nplate (romiplostim), a treatment for the bleeding disorder idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, GlaxoSmithKline’s and Ligand Pharmaceuticals’ Promacta (eltrombopag), also for ITP. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals released Arcalyst (rilonacept), a treatment for rare inflammatory diseases called cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes.

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Researchers test administering medication using nanotechnology, gold

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Researchers have developed a way to use tiny particles of gold to control the administration of drugs for diseases such as cancer, according to a study published in the journal ACS Nano.

The researchers, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created a device that shines infrared light on particles of gold coated with medicine.

The particles vary in size, causing them to melt at different rates depending on the intensity of the light.

The researchers said the device would allow medicine to target specific areas of the body at specific rates, thus minimizing damage to healthy tissue.

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N.J. tests new law requiring vaccinations for school-age children

BY Alaric DeArment

TRENTON, N.J. New Jersey will find out this week if its new law requiring flu vaccinations for schoolchildren has worked, according to published reports.

The state is the first in the country to require schoolchildren to receive flu vaccinations, between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. It required the children to receive the vaccinations by Dec. 31. Children who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed to attend school.

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