PHARMACY

PhRMA: 100 HIV/AIDS drugs, vaccines are in development

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — One hundred new drugs and vaccines are in development to treat HIV/AIDS and related conditions, according to a new report by a pharmaceutical industry trade group.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said the drugs include novel ones designed to stay ahead of the disease. For example, drugs under development include one that attacks infected cells while leaving healthy cells alone, while a new class of drugs is designed to prevent the virus from breaking through cell membranes. On the vaccine front, one uses a weakened version of the virus that causes the common cold to boost the immune system, while another is administered via a skin patch.

“We have progressed in just a few decades from having no medicines available for HIV/AIDS patients to having highly effective treatments — even against multidrug-resistant forms of the virus,” PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani said. “We have moved from complicated drug cocktails that needed to be taken around the clock to simple, once-a-day treatments. However, we have not defeated HIV/AIDS, and we cannot afford to become complacent.”

More than 1 million Americans are living with HIV infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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PHARMACY

ReCept shuffles executives

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT WORTH, Texas — Regional specialty pharmacy chain ReCept has appointed several people to new executive positions, the company said Wednesday.

ReCept, which owns 15 stores in Texas and specializes in compounding pharmacy services for people with such conditions as HIV/AIDS and cancer, announced the appointments of Nicky Otts as chairman and CEO, Carmine DeNardo as president and COO, Rob Jarvis as EVP sales and chief marketing officer, Jeff Brumbaugh as chief information officer and Stephanie Romero as VP finance.

Most of the executives already worked for ReCept, with the exception of Romero, who is new to the company and previously worked for other private companies. Otts founded ReCept in 1978, while Brumbaugh began working for it when ReCept acquired his company, M.E.II Computer Systems. DeNardo and Jarvis began working for the chain in January 2009 and April 2007, respectively.

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PHARMACY

Future of specialty pharmacy discussed at Drug Store News’ Specialty Pharmacy Roundtable

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Leaders in specialty pharmacy gathered in New York on Tuesday at the New York Athletic Club to attend the second annual Specialty Pharmacy Roundtable discussion presented by Drug Store News and Armada Health Care.

David Galardi, co-founder of Apogenics Inc., moderated the robust panel, which was comprised of Nick Calla of Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, John Musil of The Apothecary Shops, Tim Kaplan of Amber Pharmacy, Jeanne Ann Stasny of Walmart Specialty Pharmacy and Albert Thigpen of CVS Caremark, among others.

The lively discussion addressed an array of topics ranging from product innovation to market access trends and the continued evolution of risk evaluation and mitigation strategies [REMs], to how healthcare reform might impact specialty pharmacy.

The session kicked off with a focus on innovation, namely what therapeutic areas are migrating from the retail sector to the specialty pharmacy sector. In response to this, Burt Zweigenhaft, CEO of OncoMed, said he has noticed a focus on specialization.

“What I’m seeing is specialization in the disease. If it is a high-cost disease and there’s a drug to treat that disease that’s where I believe manufacturers are moving those drugs into specialty distribution because they get more accountability and better control over data. … Instead of being a generalist, the manufacturers are looking for a specialist and that’s why I focus on one disease today,” said Zweigenhaft of OncoMed, which is focused on providing oncology pharmacy services.

When asked about those therapeutic areas that are catching the eye of specialty pharmacy, several panelists were quick to point to mental health and personalized medications.

Healthcare reform and its potential impact on specialty pharmacy also was a topic of discussion.

“In the next two years, what we are going to see is a decrease in the amount of funds that they offer to Medicaid programs in each state. … Yes, we are going to be impacted. Anywhere from 24 million to 50 million new lives will enter into the marketplace. The problem is that there aren’t enough physicians to take over that care,” said John Musil, CEO of The Apothecary Shops.

Added Nick Saraniti, COO of Commcare Pharmacy, “I think that most Medicaid states will not only be under-funded but will be pushing more Medicaid patients into those programs than we ever had before because part of healthcare reform changes the federal poverty level guidelines of eligibility into those programs.”

Sponsors included Teva Neuroscience, Takeda and Endo Pharmaceuticals.

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