PHARMACY

Record number of diabetes drugs in pipeline, PhRMA says

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. A record number of drugs for treating diabetes are in the development pipeline, according to a report by an organization representing the nation’s drug makers.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America released a report Tuesday showing that pharmaceutical and biotech companies are testing 183 new diabetes medicines, all of them undergoing clinical trials or awaiting approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

PhRMA released the report in North Carolina at a press conference featuring former “Leave it to Beaver” actor and diabetic Jerry Mathers in light of the state’s high rate of diabetes.

“We released this report in North Carolina because of the alarming rise in the number of new cases of diabetes in the state,” PhRMA SVP Ken Johnson said. “Unfortunately, these rising numbers reflect what is occurring nationwide.”

According to the North Carolina Diabetes Advisory Council, about 547,000 people in the state have the disease, the 10th highest rate of prevalence in the country, in addition to 300,000 people with pre-diabetes.

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Governments vie for GSK flu vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON Several governments have placed orders with GlaxoSmithKline for a candidate vaccine for the A (H1N1) influenza virus, popularly known as swine flu, the British drug maker announced.

GSK said it will manufacture the new vaccine once the World Health Organization makes the virus seed available, and it expects the first doses to be available six months later.

As of Monday, the influenza strain had infected 5,123 people and caused five deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many public health experts fear that the virus could mutate and return in more virulent form when the Northern Hemisphere enters its flu season later in the year.

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Shire to expand assistance program for UC patients

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA A British drug maker announced Monday that it would expand its patient assistance program for patients with ulcerative colitis.

Shire said that UC patients taking Lialda (mesalamine delayed-release tablets) or Pentasa (mesalamine extended-release capsules) and who became unemployed this year can receive their medication at no cost throughout the rest of the year.

“We are committed to helping UC patients better manage their condition,” Shire gastrointestinal business SVP Roger Adsett stated. “Offering greater financial support to those who may be struggling due to the current economic climate through our expanded Shire CARES PAP is a natural extension of the Shire mission.”

Last week, Pfizer announced that it would begin offering drugs for free to patients with prescriptions to Pfizer drugs who lost their jobs this year.

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