PHARMACY

Results from phase-3 trial of Pfizer cancer drug disappoint

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — An experimental kidney cancer drug made by Pfizer didn’t extend the time in which patients survived without their disease worsening when compared with a competing drug, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial released Wednesday.

The drug maker announced results of the phase-3 "INTORSECT" study to compare Torisel (temsirolimus) in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma whose disease had worsened after treatment with Pfizer’s Sutent (sunitinib malate) with Nexavar (sorafenib), made by Bayer HealthCare and Onyx Pharmaceuticals.

While the number of patients who survived without their disease getting worse, known as progression-free survival, was numerically higher than among those taking Nexavar, the results were not statistically significant, Pfizer said. Torisel already has Food and Drug Administration approval for treating advanced renal cell carcinoma.

About 270,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with RCC every year, with about 20% having advanced disease at the time of diagnosis, according to Pfizer.


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NACDS lauds studies showing pharmacists are critical in team-based healthcare delivery

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores lauded recommendations released by the Community Preventive Services Task Force illustrating that team-based care can improve blood-pressure control for patients.

The studies, which specifically cited pharmacists as critical in the team-based approach to patient care, emphasized the importance of collaboration among healthcare professionals in ensuring improved patient care.

“When pharmacists were added to teams, the median improvement in the proportion of patients with controlled blood pressure was considerably higher than the overall median increase for this outcome,” the findings concluded.

The evidence was based on the findings of 77 studies of team-based care organized primarily with nurses and pharmacists working in collaboration with primary care providers, patients and other professionals.

The report also found that health team members complement the role of the primary care provider by having the team support and share responsibilities for hypertension care — such as medication management, patient follow-up and helping the patient adhere to their blood-pressure control plan, including health behavior change.

“We are pleased with the recommendations by the Community Preventive Services Task Force.  Collaboration of healthcare professionals — including community pharmacists — is a key component of helping to improve patient care,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “Community pharmacists counsel patients on taking medications as directed by their physicians, administer flu shots and other vaccines to help patients stay healthy, and they provide a number of other services such as preventive health screenings — including blood-pressure testing. Community pharmacy provides unsurpassed value in improving patient health and reducing healthcare costs in the healthcare delivery system.”

The Community Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, nonfederal, unpaid body of public health and prevention experts that provides evidence-based findings about community preventive programs, services and policies to improve health.


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Amneal adds blackberry flavoring to generic diabetes drug

BY Alaric DeArment

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Amneal Pharmaceuticals is adding blackberry flavoring to a generic diabetes drug following feedback from customers, the company said Wednesday.

Amneal announced the changes to its metformin hydrochloride immediate-release tablets in the 500-mg, 850-mg and 1,000-mg strengths, designed to cover up the smell of metformin.

The company said the blackberry-flavored metformin, manufactured at its Brookhaven, N.Y., factory, will begin shipping this month with new national drug code numbers. The drug is a generic version of Glucophage, made by Merck Sante S.A.S., a subsidiary of Germany-based Merck KGaA, a separate and distinct company from U.S.-based Merck that operates under the name EMD Serono in the United States.


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