PHARMACY

Shire launches ulcerative colitis information site

BY Alaric DeArment

CHESTERBROOK, Pa. — Drug maker Shire has launched an online information website for patients in the United States with ulcerative colitis, the company said Thursday.

The website, Shire UCentral, includes information for patients and caregivers. UC is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in the lining of the colon and rectum.

"The patient is at the heart of everything we do at Shire, and that includes Shire UCentral, which was designed with patient needs in mind and to provide an optimal viewing experience on smartphones, tablets or desktop computers," Shire Gastrointestinal Business Unit head Roger Adsett said. "Our new online resource center also reflects Shire’s commitment to being a leader in gastroenterology."

 

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Alliance Boots ceases acquisition talks for Mexican wholesaler

BY Michael Johnsen

ZUG, Switzerland — Following reports in the media in Mexico and Chile of discussions between Alliance Boots and Grupo Casa Saba and its shareholders, Alliance Boots on Wednesday confirmed that it has stopped all discussions with Casa Saba and its shareholders in connection with an investment in Casa Saba or a purchase of certain of Casa Saba’s assets. 

Alliance Boots’ decision not to invest has been based on its inability to determine the current financial situation of Casa Saba, the company reported. 

Casa Saba is a distributor of pharmaceutical, health, beauty and consumer products, as well as general merchandise and publications, in Mexico.

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Study: GSK’s FluLaval Quadrivalent reduces flu cases among children ages 3 years to 8 years by 55.4%

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA — GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday announced that a peer-reviewed study issued online by the New England Journal of Medicine has reported that GSK’s FluLaval Quadrivalent reduced flu cases among children ages 3 years to 8 years by 55.4% overall and lowered the risk of developing moderate-to-serious flu illness by 73.1%. 

This was the first large-scale clinical trial conducted specifically to review the safety and effectiveness of vaccinating children with a four-strain flu vaccine. The randomized, controlled clinical trial included 5,220 children and was one of the pivotal studies leading to the recent approval of FluLaval Quadrivalent by the Food and Drug Administration.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends all children get vaccinated each flu season. This is in response to how many children require flu-related medical care, and given that as many as 20,000 U.S. children are hospitalized each year due to complications of the flu,” stated Leonard Friedland, VP, director scientific affairs and public health, GSK Vaccines North America.  “This study provides robust safety and efficacy data on FluLaval Quadrivalent, and evidence of the clinical benefit of vaccination with FluLaval Quadrivalent as demonstrated by the prevention of moderate-to-severe cases of influenza among children.”                                                                       

Newly available quadrivalent flu vaccines protect against all four of the flu strains that are in circulation during a flu season. Until this flu season, flu vaccines were limited to protecting against three influenza strains, and this necessitated the World Health Organization and other public health authorities to estimate each year what three strains might be predominant.

Virus strains that scientists refer to as A-strains traditionally cause the most cases of flu, so two A strains have been included in seasonal flu vaccines. The other circulating strains, referred to as B-strains, derive from two distinct strain lineages. In six of the past 11 flu seasons, the B-strain included in flu vaccines was not the predominant B-strain in circulation. The new quadrivalent flu vaccines protect against both B strains, providing the broadest strain protection currently available.

GSK has developed two quadrivalent vaccines that the FDA has licensed for use. GSK markets these vaccines as FluLaval Quadrivalent and Fluarix Quadrivalent. Both vaccines are approved to be administered to individuals three years and older, and they have been shown to have comparable safety and tolerability to three-strain (trivalent) seasonal influenza vaccines.

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