PHARMACY

San Antonio health department selects VCDS’ Vermedx technology to track diabetes

BY Drew Buono

BURLINGTON, Vt. Vermont Clinical Decision Support, which captures laboratory test results from multiple labs and automatically produces population summary reports and report cards at regional, community, provider and practice levels has been selected by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District to provide elements of its technology to assist in the city’s diabetes intervention pilot program.

San Antonio’s diabetes death rate was the second-highest of the 54 largest U.S. cities, according to a recent report by the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Second only to New Orleans, the rate of death from diabetes was 49.8 to every 100,000 people in 2004 which is roughly double the national rate of 24.4.

The Vermedx technology will assist the district in creating a city-based registry and utilizing its information to map the epidemiology of hyperglycemia, monitor the diabetes epidemic, and initiate improvements.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to participate in a program with such far reaching implications for improving the health of diabetes patients and reducing the cost of care,” said Benjamin Littenberg, chief executive officer of Vermont Clinical Decision Support.

Starting in May 2008, the pilot program is expected to run 18 months, with at least 50,000 active diabetic patients and four major testing labs involved. SAMHD will present a detailed summary of its pilot diabetes program to the Texas Legislature in September 2009. The Legislature will then consider a similar program in other major Texas metropolitan areas.

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Ziopharm’s Palifosfamide receives orphan designation

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Ziopharm Oncology has received orphan drug approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Palifosfamide, for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma, according to published reports.

Ziopharm will receive seven years of exclusivity of marketing for the drug once it has been approved, as well as an accelerated review process, grant funding, tax benefits, and an exemption from other fees.

Ziopharm’s chief executive Jonathan Lewis said that the drug stands to bring in as much as $400 million in revenues annually in the U.S. alone once it is approved. “Developing drugs for rare diseases is going to become increasingly more important because more and more the way we define diseases is into smaller and smaller subsets,” said Lewis. “In addition, we are looking to develop this for other indications starting with sarcoma.”

The intravenous form of Palifosfamide is currently in phase II studies and the oral form is expected to enter Phase I studies in early 2009.

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Delhaize banners offer discounted generics

BY DSN STAFF

LAS VEGAS Shoppers at several supermarket chains in the eastern U.S. can buy hundreds of generic drugs at a discount.

Belgian food retailer Delhaize Group is offering a generic drug discount program at several of its U.S. chains, including Nashville, Ga.-based Harveys Supermarkets, Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, Tampa, Fla.-based Sweetbay Supermarkets and Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Bros.

Participating stores offer 30-day and 90-day supplies of hundreds of generic drugs, though Harveys only offers 90-day supplies. Sweetbay offers more than 400 drugs, including the psychiatric drug haloperidol, thyroid hormone levothyroxine and respiratory drug albuterol, charging $4 for 30-day supplies and $10.99 for 90-day supplies.

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