PHARMACY

Protein Sciences gains extensive patent protection for Flublok vaccine

BY Michael Johnsen

MERIDEN, Conn. — Protein Sciences announced Wednesday that in a rare move, the Food and Drug Administration is granting exclusivity to Flublok for a period of 12 years. The U.S. FDA determination of regulatory exclusivity means that no product similar to Flublok can be approved by FDA before Jan. 16, 2025.
 
"We are delighted that the FDA recognizes Flublok as a singular innovation in the prevention of an important and often deadly disease caused by the influenza virus," said Manon Cox, president and CEO of Protein Sciences Corporation. 
 
Flublok, the world's first recombinant protein-based vaccine for the prevention of seasonal influenza disease, was approved by FDA in January 2013.  Flublok is the only flu vaccine made in a 100% egg-free system using modern cell culture technology, making it unnecessary to use an infectious influenza virus or antibiotics in manufacturing.
 
According to the company, Flublok contains three times more antigen than traditional flu vaccines.
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Pharmacy driving sales growth at Rite Aid

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid on Thursday morning posted a 2.9% increase for the 13-week quarter ended May 30, with front-end same-store sales tracking up at 0.6% and pharmacy comparable sales up 3.9%. Prescription counts at comparable stores increased 1.6% over the prior-year period. 
 
Total sales for Rite Aid's first quarter reached $6.6 billion on 2.8% growth. The company has scheduled a conference call to discuss the quarter with analysts on June 18. 
 
For the quarter, prescription sales represented 69.1% of total sales, and third-party prescription sales represented 97.7% of pharmacy sales.
 
Rite Aid same-store sales were up 2.1% for the five weeks ended May 30, with a front-end same-store sales increase of 0.1% and a pharmacy same-store sales increase of 3%. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 0.7% over the prior-year period.
 
Total drug store sales for the five-week period increased 2% to $2.5 billion. Prescription sales accounted for 68.7% of drug store sales, and third-party prescription sales represented 97.8% of pharmacy sales.
 
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Sandoz launches generic Intuniv

BY David Salazar

PRINCETON, N.J. — Sandoz has announced that it is introducing guanfacine hydrochloride extended-release tablets, a generic version of Intuniv, in 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-mg dosages. The guanfacine hydrochloride is a nonstimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, either on its own or in combination with central nervous system stimulants.
 
“[ADHD] is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Peter Goldschmidt, President of Sandoz Inc. “Sandoz is pleased to add guanfacine hydrochloride extended release tablets to our portfolio of high-quality medicines for the central nervous system.”
 
Earlier this week, Teva launched its guanfacine hydrochloride tablets in the same strengths. 
 
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