PHARMACY

Novo Nordisk study finds once-daily liraglutide reduces blood sugar, weight in African-Americans

BY Allison Cerra

LAS VEGAS A study by Novo Nordisk concluded that once-daily liraglutide, an investigational treatment for Type 2 diabetes, leads to statistically significant and sustained reductions in blood sugar and weight in African-Americans with Type 2 diabetes, as compared with glimepiride, a commonly prescribed diabetes treatment. The data were presented at the 114th National Medical Association Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly.

African-Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites, and almost 15% of all African-Americans ages 20 years or older have diabetes, Novo Nordisk reported. In the study, 64% of African-American patients treated with liraglutide 1.8 mg once a day and 29% treated with liraglutide 1.2 mg once daily reached and maintained the American Diabetes Association’s blood sugar target, versus 11% of patients treated with glimepiride 8 mg once daily after 52 weeks.

The ADA’s blood sugar target is an A1C, a measure of average blood sugar control over three months, of less than 7%.

“Because African-Americans are among the most affected by diabetes, it’s important that we consider how these patients respond to potential treatments,” said lead study author Mansur Shomali, M.D., of Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Md. “In this study, liraglutide not only lowered blood sugar, but patients lost weight as well. This is good news for these patients who are often struggling to control their disease.”

In addition to lowering blood sugar, after 52 weeks of treatment with 1.8 mg of liraglutide, mean body weight decreased by 2.98 kg (6.57 lbs), and with 1.2 mg of liraglutide, mean body weight decreased by 0.71 kg (1.54 lbs), compared to a slight decrease in weight in the glimepiride group of 0.50 kg (or 1.10 lbs).

“Obesity is a major medical risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and a significant issue in the African American community, as they are 1.4 times as likely to be obese as non-Hispanic whites,” said Shomali. “For these patients in particular, even modest weight loss can make a significant difference in the management of their diabetes, which makes liraglutide a potentially important treatment option.”

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Food industry vets commence new lobbying practice

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON Policy Solutions, a new government and public affairs firm, has opened a practice in Washington, led by three food industry veterans.

The new firm will provide strategic advice to its clients and assistance in coalition building, grassroots program development, media relations, and in community outreach and corporate responsibility programs.

The three principals of the lobbying group include John Motley, former SVP government affairs for the Food Marketing Institute; Barry Scher, former long-time VP public affairs for Giant Foods; and Jay Truitt, former VP government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. 

“With both a new Congress and administration, there will be increased legislative and regulatory activity. Policy Solution’s principals have an extensive experience in working with both Congress and the Executive Branch on a wide range of policy issues, from food safety to energy and from taxes to health care,” said Motley.

For more information on this group, visit policy-solutions.net.

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Wegmans seeks to reduce paper usage for prescriptions

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. Wegmans’ SVP of consumer affairs Mary Ellen Burris on Sunday noted that Wegmans pharmacies are losing a significant amount of paper weight in her weekly online blog.

Wegmans pharmacies are eliminating pharmacy prescription information sheets for all refills, she noted, which would more or less result in 10 million fewer printouts each year.

“That’s the scoop on … you know, the enclosure with every single prescription that you probably don’t even read while you’re throwing it away,” she wrote. “Now, there are some you should read … a first time prescription, for instance. However, after you understand the precautions, use, side effects, drug interactions and storage (my favorite, for a recently prescribed drug: “do not store in the bathroom” which is where I keep all medical stuff) … such information is typically not really needed for refills.”

Completing implementation of new pharmacy software made it possible, Burris noted, making pharmacy prescription information sheets for refills, which consist of about 50% of the prescriptions filled at Wegmans, obsolete.

Essential information is still printed with each prescription filled, however.

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