PHARMACY

Sanofi: Lyxumia won’t significantly increase hypoglycemia risk

BY Alaric DeArment

PARIS — New results from a late-stage clinical trial of a Sanofi drug for Type 2 diabetes indicated that the drug can reduce blood sugar in patients without increasing the risk of causing the blood sugar levels to dip too low, the French drug maker said Tuesday.

Sanofi, which shortened its name earlier this month from Sanofi-Aventis, announced results of the phase-3 “GetGoal-L” trial of Lyxumia (lixisenatide), saying that when used as an add-on therapy with basal insulin and with or without metformin, the drug “significantly” reduced HbA1C levels, compared with placebo, without significantly increasing the risk of hypoglycemia. The trial, part of the broader “GetGoal” phase-3 study program, enrolled 495 patients who received either Lyxumia or placebo.

“These positive efficacy and safety results are another important milestone in the GetGoal clinical trial program and show the potential value of adding Lyxumia to basal insulin to improve glycemic control,” Sanofi global diabetes division SVP Pierre Chancel said. “The findings from this and previous studies reinforce the continuing positive trend demonstrating the potential of lixisenatide to improve the lives of people with Type 2 diabetes.”

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PHARMACY

USA Today article highlights risks of medication nonadherence

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — The major consumer press is beginning to understand the value of community pharmacy and the importance of medication adherence in managing outcomes in healthcare spending, as evidenced by the recent USA Today article "Studies: Missed meds could cost more than $250B a year."

The article, which was published Friday, cited studies by both Express Scripts and CVS Caremark, in partnership with Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which found that billions of dollars are lost each year by Americans not taking their medications as prescribed, leading to emergency room visits, in-patient hospitalizations and doctors’ visits.

The article quoted CVS Caremark EVP and chief medical officer Troyen Brennan as saying that a CVS study estimated that if 35% of patients in a group of 100,000 do not take their medications as prescribed, it will result in 16 heart attacks, five strokes and seven deaths.

USA Today also noted in the article that Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., have introduced bills that would allow Medicare reimbursement for more patients who sit down with therapists for one-on-one help managing their medication. The bills would enable pharmacists to recommend the counseling to patients who have chronic diseases or who take several medications each day.

Click here to view the full article.

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CVS Caremark lands PBM contract with FEP

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — In a major win for its pharmacy benefit management business, CVS Caremark will handle the $3 billion mail-order and specialty prescription drug benefit for the Federal Employee Program starting January 2012, which, for the last three years, had been handled by rival Medco Health Solutions.

"We are very gratified that FEP has recognized that CVS Caremark’s unique integrated model for pharmacy care provides the best overall value and offers their plan members innovative, cost-effective pharmacy benefit management services that improve health outcomes," said Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark president and CEO, in a company statement announcing the news.

CVS Caremark will continue to provide FEP’s clinical programs and retail PBM services, and also will provide mail-order pharmacy services and specialty pharmacy services to FEP’s more than 5 million federal employees, retirees and dependents.

CVS Caremark has been administering FEP’s retail PBM program since 1993 and the contract most recently had been extended through the end of 2011. The new agreement, which runs through 2014, brings the relationship between CVS Caremark and FEP to more than 20 years.

"FEP is a highly valued client and we are committed to continuing to deliver the same high level of service and patient satisfaction that we have provided to FEP’s federal employees, retirees and their families for many years," stated Per Lofberg, president of CVS Caremark’s PBM business.

Many industry observers viewed the news as a major win for CVS Caremark and following the announcement, Citi Investment Research analyst Deborah Weinswig kept a "Buy" rating on the stock and boosted her target to $46 per share from $41.

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