PHARMACY

Study examines rates of obesity and related diseases among ethnic groups

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK A recent study found high obesity rates in most but not all racial and ethnic groups and a possible risk of future increases in obesity-related diseases and healthcare costs.

The study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, appeared Monday on the Web site of the medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine. It found that 60 to 85 percent of white, black and Hispanic Americans were overweight, while 30 to 50 percent were obese. Among Chinese-Americans, rates were 33 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Based on the low rates among Chinese-Americans, the study concluded that high obesity rates “should not be considered inevitable.”

It also found high rates of hypertension and diabetes in obese people despite the use of anti-hypertensive and anti-diabetic medication.

The study used a sample of 6,814 people aged 45 to 84 who did not have cardiovascular disease between 2000 and 2002. It studied the link between the obesity epidemic and cardiovascular disease risk by examining obesity’s prevalence and its relationship to cardiovascular disease risk factors and subclinical vascular disease.

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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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