PHARMACY

Interview: Learish discusses caregivers’ importance to Rite Aid

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH Rite Aid hosted its Caregiver Expo Saturday here, with several hundred local residents taking advantage of the many free healthcare services offered by Rite Aid at the Expo.

Drug Store News, which organized the event, had a chance to sit down with John Learish, Rite Aid senior vice president of marketing for his take on caregivers.

Following is a snippet of that conversation. The full interview will be published in the Dec. 10 edition of Drug Store News.

Drug Store News: Why is caregiving important to Rite Aid, not only in Pittsburgh but nationwide?

John Learish: When you look at the caregiver segment, it’s growing exponentially. The statistics show that nearly one in four U.S. households currently cares for a relative or friend over 50. And as the population continues to age, this is something that, as a healthcare provider, we’re going to have to address.

DrSN: What services is Rite Aid providing at the Caregiver Expo?

Learish: We’ve got a great representation of pharmacists who are here to demonstrate the services that we offer, both everyday at any of our stores as well as some of our specialized services. … Six different suppliers participated with us today, all with products that index very highly against the caregiver segment. People from Carex with durable medical [goods], Ross Labs with nutritional products, Kimberly Clark for some of the incontinence products that they offer, Lifescan and Omron with diagnostic products as well as Sage; so we’ve got a real relevant set of offerings both from the front-of–the-store all the way back to the personalized services we’re offering in the pharmacy.

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Heritage launches its formulation of the generic hydrochlorothiazide

BY Drew Buono

EDISON, N.J. Heritage Pharmaceuticals has launched its new drug hydrochlorothiazide.

The drug is used as adjunctive therapy in edema associated with congestive heart failure, hepatic cirrhosis, and corticosteroid and estrogen therapy. The drug is also used in the management of hypertension.

The drug is available in 25 and 50 mg tablets in 100 and 1000 count bottles. Total annual market sales for Hydrochlorothiazide tablets in the U.S. were $30.8 million, according to March 2007 IMS data.

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Bayer pulls clotting drug from worldwide market

BY Allison Cerra

FRANKFURT, Germany Bayer has stopped worldwide sales of its anti-bleeding drug after a clinical study revealed the drug poses a higher risk of death.

Trasylol (aprotinin), designed to stem blood loss and enable patients receiving heart bypass surgery to avoid the use of transfusions, was tested in a Canadian clinical study last month. Preliminary results from that trial also suggested Trasylol increased the risk of death when compared with the other drugs.

Additional tests, which would have compared the safety and effectiveness of Trasylol with two others was halted after the initial results surfaced.

Leverkusen-based Bayer said Monday that it made the decision after discussions with the Food and Drug Administration, the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medicine Products along with Health Canada.

Last week, the FDA said that evidence suggests Trasylol increased the risk of death compared with other drugs, and that the drug was blocking enzymes which dissolve blood clots, instead of aiding them. The agency began reevaluating the drug’s safety after the January 2006 publication of two studies that linked the drug’s use to serious side effects, including kidney problems, heart attacks and strokes.

The FDA approved the drug in 1993 to prevent the loss of blood and thwart the need for blood transfusions in surgeries to bypass clogged coronary arteries.

More recent studies have suggested the drug also raises the risk of death. One of those studies previously was withheld by Bayer from the FDA due to what a company investigation later characterized as a “regrettable human error.”

Bayer said it wanted to review the results from the Canadian trials before moving forward.

“Once the complete … dataset is available, Bayer will work with health authorities to evaluate whether these data have any impact on the positive benefit-risk assessment for Trasylol,” the company said in a statement. “At that time the temporary marketing suspension will be reevaluated.”

Shares of Bayer gained nearly 1.6 percent to €57.57 ($83.36) in Frankfurt.

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