PHARMACY

Sanofi Pasteur: H1N1 shot boosts immune response

BY Michael Johnsen

LYON, France Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-Aventis Group, on Thursday announced that a single dose of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccines, Panenza (15 mcg dose, non-adjuvanted) or Humenza (3.8 mcg dose, adjuvanted), administered to children (3 years of age and older) and adults just one time induces a robust immune response that is considered protective in 93% or more of adults 18 to 59 years old and in 83% or more of adults 60 years of age and older, according to results from clinical trials conducted in Europe.

In children 3 years of age through 17 years of age, 94% or more of study participants achieved seroprotective antibody response.

“These significant clinical data concerning Sanofi Pasteur’s pandemic influenza vaccines will help build public confidence in the vaccine and will support efforts by health authorities to face the challenge posed by pandemic influenza,” stated Wayne Pisano, president and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur.

The results are based on interim analysis following the first vaccination dose from clinical trials conducted in France and Finland. No serious adverse events have been observed to date in these clinical trials. Local injection site (redness, swelling and pain) and systemic complaints of mild fever, headache and fatigue were reported.

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GSK to supply more than 400 million doses of swine flu vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON GlaxoSmithKline has contracts to supply more than 400 million doses of vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu, the British drug maker announced.

GSK said Tuesday that it had received orders for 149 million additional doses of the vaccine, bringing the total to 440 million. The company plans to ship initial supplies of the vaccine this week and into the first half of 2010.

Doses of the vaccine have been percolating into various parts of the United States over the last several days, and Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently said that Americans “must” get the vaccine. To date, the pandemic H1N1 flu has killed about 600 people in this country.

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Published reports: Violent criminals, organized crime turning to Medicare fraud

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Violent criminals, including those involved in organized crime, are turning to Medicare fraud as a way of making money, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that lighter sentences and easy money were leading many criminals to move from drug dealing to healthcare fraud, which can earn them $25,000 a day but a 10-year prison sentence if convicted.

Crimes have included sending Medicare fraudulent bills for drugs and medical equipment with invoices containing Social Security and Medicare numbers bought from homeless people on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Most of the activity has occurred in Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit and Houston.

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