HEALTH

New eye drops like OTC Lumify to bolster Valeant 2018 sales

BY Michael Johnsen

One of the promising product launches mentioned by Valeant in its fourth-quarter conference call last week was Bausch + Lomb’s Lumify, which recently was approved to treat red, irritated eyes. “In addition to growing our core businesses, another important area of focus throughout the year has been advancing our new product pipeline,” Joseph Papa, chairman and CEO of Valeant, told investors last week. “While the [Valeant] business stabilized in the second half of 2017, the first half of 2018 will have a tougher comp for us, with the prospect of turning the corner to growth later in the year, as our new product launches take hold.”

Total annual revenues for the company totaled $8.7 billion, a decrease of 10% as compared to the year-ago period. But looking, forward Valeant has a host of new products coming to market, including Lumify.

In December, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Lumify (brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution 0.025%) as the first and only over-the-counter eye drop developed with low-dose brimonidine tartrate for the treatment of ocular redness. Brimonidine, which was first approved by the FDA in 1996 for intraocular pressure reduction in glaucoma patients, is available at higher doses in prescription eye care products.

“With [the] approval of Lumify, consumers have a new and unique treatment option to relieve red, irritated eyes,” Papa said at the time of the approval. “Lumify is the first and only OTC eye drop with low-dose brimonidine, which has been clinically proven to be safe and effective since its initial approval as a prescription medication in 1996. We expect Lumify will be available for purchase in major retailers in the second quarter of 2018.”

Ocular redness is a common condition that can be caused by inflammation of almost any part of the eye. With frequent use, non-selective redness relieving eye drops that constrict blood vessels in the eye can result in users developing a tolerance or loss of effectiveness, as well as rebound redness. In contrast, low-dose brimonidine, the active ingredient in Lumify, selectively constricts veins in the eye, increasing the availability of oxygen to surrounding tissue, thereby reducing the potential risk of these side effects.

“Patients with eye redness and irritation can experience negative social connotations, which may impact daily life,” Paul Karpecki, director Corneal Services at Kentucky Eye Institute, said. “Having a drop that reduces redness without the side effects of rebound hyperemia or tachyphylaxis, which may lead to overuse and potential corneal toxicity, is a very exciting option that I look forward to recommending to my patients.”

 

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HRG invites independents to ‘Step into Natural’ with new blog

BY Michael Johnsen

Hamacher Resource Group last week announced the launch of a new blog series, “Step into Natural,” that will help independent pharmacists and their staff learn more about the natural products landscape.

“Natural products are a $180 billion industry and it will only continue to grow,” said Angela Pinkstaff, HRG director of business development. “We surveyed our independent pharmacy clients last year about naturals and 80% of the respondents told us they carry them. This blog series is part of HRG’s initiative to help natural brand manufacturers and independent pharmacies meet consumer demand.”

The series will cover a variety of topics including consumer profiles; trending ingredients; lifestyle and doctor-recommended diets; concepts like “free from,” “clean label” and social responsibility. It will also profile community pharmacies that are excelling in the natural products marketplace.

Hamacher Resource Group focuses on improving results for product manufacturers, healthcare distributors, retailers, technology partners and other organizations by addressing dynamic needs such as assortment planning and placement, retail execution strategy, fixture coordination, item database management, brand marketing and analytics. Founded in 1980, HRG is headquartered in Waukesha, Wis.

 

 

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CDC advises flu shots and caution as ILI rate continues decline

BY DSN STAFF

For the second straight week, the rates of influenza-like illnesses as tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped precipitously. Rates of ILI fell to approximately 5% for the week ended Feb. 24 from a record high two weeks ago.

“While influenza activity continued to decrease in the latest FluView report, it remains high across much of the United States,” the CDC reported. “ILI dropped from 6.4% reported last week to 5.0%, and is now similar to ILI observed at the peak of last season. Current data indicate that the 2017-2018 flu season peaked at 7.4% in early February (during weeks 5 and 6) and is now on the decline, however 45 states plus Puerto Rico continue to report widespread flu activity and 32 states plus New York City and the District of Columbia continue to experience high influenza-like illness activity.”

CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older as flu viruses are likely to continue circulating for weeks. While H3N2 viruses remained predominant overall this season, the proportion of B viruses versus A viruses is now almost even. In recent weeks, B viruses have been increasing while H3N2 viruses have been decreasing.

Early vaccine effectiveness estimates show that flu vaccine has reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor due to flu by 36% overall through Feb. 3. Vaccine effectiveness against H3N2 viruses was 25%. However, vaccine effectiveness against H1N1 was 67% and against B viruses was 42%.

In addition, in the context of widespread influenza activity, CDC clinicians and the public are reminded of importance of prompt treatment with influenza antiviral medications in people who are severely ill and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications who develop flu symptoms.

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