PHARMACY

New recommendations out for pneumococcal vaccine in high-risk adults

BY Barbara White-Sax

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has updated its recommendations for pneumococcal vaccine in high-risk adults.

ACIP now recommends the use of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13; Prevnar 13) for high-risk adults ages 19 years or older. The committee recommends that PCV13 should be administered to eligible adults in addition to the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23; Pneumovax 23), the vaccine currently recommended for these groups of adults.

Those at high risk include patients with immunocompromising conditions, functional or anatomic asplenia, cerebrospinal fluid leaks or cochlear implants.

Click here to access the report, which outlines the new ACIP recommendations for PCV13 use, explains the recommendations for the use of PCV13 and PPSV23 among high-risk adults, and summarizes the evidence.

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FDA could consider faster approvals for some drugs

BY Barbara White-Sax

SILVER SPRING, M.D. — The Food and Drug Administration may be willing to speed up trials for drugs that could be a big benefit to society despite their risks.

According to several published reports, FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg recently told a group of scientific advisers that the agency is considering allowing makers of drugs having a societal benefit to conduct faster clinical trials with a smaller group of patients than is now required.

A “special medical use” label could be used, allowing physicians to administer the drugs to those patients in most dire need, such as those with deadly or debilitating diseases who may be willing to accept the additional perils of unproven drugs, Hamburg said.

Life-saving antibiotics or obesity drugs could be candidates for the ramped-up approval process, although Hamburg did not mention any specific drugs at the meeting.

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Rite Aid offers free Medicare Part D consultations

BY Barbara White-Sax

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid is making its pharmacists available free of charge to seniors and their caregivers for personalized Medicare Part D consultations. Seniors can also use Rite Aid’s dedicated Medicare Advisor comparison tools online at RiteAid.com/medicareadvisor.

With Medicare Part D open enrollment from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, Rite Aid anticipates that many seniors choosing a prescription drug program will find the complicated pricing process and varying coverage rates of the many provider plans confusing.

Medicare Part D plans are not all created alike, and finding the right Medicare Part D plan can be overwhelming," said Robert Thompson, Rite Aid’s EVP pharmacy. "But it’s easier with a trusted adviser. Rite Aid pharmacists stand ready to help their patients find the plan in their area that is best for their prescription needs."

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that 19.7 million beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

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