PHARMACY

Mobile app reveals price differences of Rxs across local pharmacies

BY Allison Cerra

SALT LAKE CITY — Pharmacy customers looking to view and compare prescription drug prices now can do so on their iPhone or Android device.

LowestMed said its mobile application includes more than 1,000 of the most popular brand-name and generic drugs, consisting of more than 95% of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the nation, with thousands of additional drug price comparisons available on the company’s website LowestMed.com. How it works: LowestMed provides a list of discounted prices at nearby pharmacies of both branded prescription drugs and their generic alternatives. The app also includes access to the free LowestMed discount card, which when displayed at the point of sale, ensures savings of 10% to 85% off of retail prices, the company said.

“Most consumers don’t realize that prices can vary widely by pharmacy, and that up until this point the only way to do price comparisons on a local level was to go to each pharmacy and submit an insurance claim,” LowestMed CEO Brad Bangerter said. “With the LowestMed app, for the first time consumers are empowered with the full transparency to identify the least expensive drug prices in their area. We do for the pharmacy marketplace what Travelocity or Kayak does for the travel industry, providing a one-stop, fast, convenient and easy way for consumers to maximize savings on their medications.”


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Study: Gardasil doesn’t cause autoimmune conditions

BY Allison Cerra

PASADENA, Calif. — A human papillomavirus vaccine created by drug maker Merck does not cause autoimmune conditions after young women are inoculated, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study.

Researchers used electronic health records to conduct an observational safety study of 189,629 females ages 9 to 26 years in California who were followed for six months after receiving each dose of Gardasil, the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, from 2006 to 2008. The study looked for autoimmune conditions — such as immune thrombocytopenia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, multiple sclerosis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system, vaccine-associated demyelination, Guillain-Barre syndrome, neuromyelitis optica, optic neuritis and uveitis — since autoimmune reactions have been a long-standing concern surrounding vaccination and many parents withhold the vaccine from their children because of perceived safety concerns, the researchers noted.

 

"This kind of safety information may help parents with vaccination decisions," said study lead author Chun Chao, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena, Calif. "These findings offer some assurance that among a large and generalizable female population, no safety signal for autoimmune conditions was found following HPV4 vaccination in routine clinical use."

The study, funded by Merck, appears in the Journal of Internal Medicine.


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FDA approves actinic keratosis treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a topical treatment made by Leo Pharma for a skin condition that can lead to cancer, the drug maker said Wednesday.

Leo announced the FDA approval of Picato (ingenol mebutate) gel in the 0.015%/0.05% strength for actinic keratosis, also known as AK, which is a precancerous condition resulting from cumulative sun exposure that has the potential to lead to squamous cell carcinoma.

"Since there is no way to predict which actinic keratosis will advance to skin cancer, early detection and treatment of lesions are critical," said Mark Lebwohl of the Department of Dermatology at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and an investigator of a late-stage clinical trial of the drug. "What makes this new solution particularly exciting is the two- or three-day course of treatment."

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 1-in-5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetimes, and studies have shown that about 65% of cases of squamous cell carcinoma begin as untreated actinic keratosis.


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