Study finds similar patient responses between branded arthritis treatment, Hospira biosimilar
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — A recently released clinical trial has found that patients taking a biotech drug for arthritis and those taking a biosimilar version had similar responses to both treatments.
Hospira announced the results of two extension studies of Inflectra (infliximab), its biosimilar version of Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, at the American College of Rheumatology and Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals joint annual meeting in San Diego. The rheumatoid arthritis study included 302 patients, out of the 455 who had completed a previous clinical trial, while the ankylosing spondylitis study included 174 patients from a previous 210-patient trial.
In each study, participants were divided roughly in half, with one group receiving Inflectra continuously and one switching from Remicade to Inflectra. Patients in both studies showed similar responses in terms of efficacy and safety, whether they took Inflectra only or switched to it.
"We’re very pleased with the findings of the two-year extension studies," Hospira corporate VP and chief medical officer Stan Bukofzer said. "We are committed to continuing to build on our biosimilars experience."
Inflectra, which Hospira also refers to as CT-P13, was approved in the European Union in September, though it is not approved in the United States. A provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act included an abbreviated regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars, though Food and Drug Administration regulations have not yet been finalized. Biosimilars are expected to reach the U.S. market in the middle of the decade.
Walgreens generates October sales of $6.4 billion with a 5.8% same-store sales lift
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday posted October sales of $6.4 billion, an increase of 6.1%. Sales in comparable stores increased by 5.8% in October.
Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 5.7% in October and increased 6.2% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. This year’s October had one additional Thursday and one fewer Monday compared with October 2012. These calendar shifts negatively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 50 basis points.
Prescriptions filled at comparable stores also were positively impacted by 110 basis points due to more flu shots versus last year and were negatively impacted by 20 basis points due to lower incidence of flu in this year’s October.
October pharmacy sales increased by 7.8%, while comparable store pharmacy sales increased 7.9% and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 8.4%. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 100 basis points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, and were positively impacted by 70 basis points due to more flu shots versus last year. Pharmacy sales accounted for 65.5% of total sales for the month.
Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season to date were more than 4.9 million versus nearly 3.6 million last year.
Total front-end sales increased 3.5% compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while comparable store front-end sales increased 2.3%. Customer traffic in comparable stores increased 0.6% while basket size increased 1.7%.
Calendar 2013 sales to date were $60.5 billion, an increase of 4.3%.
Fiscal 2014 year-to-date sales for the first two months were $12.3 billion, up 7%.
Walgreens opened 14 stores during October, including four relocations, and closed two.
Walgreens’ corporate operations VP tapped to lead health care for Boots in U.K. and Ireland
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Alliance Boots on Tuesday announced that Richard Ashworth, Walgreens corporate operations VP for the Western United States, has been appointed as director of health care, health and beauty U.K. and Republic of Ireland at Alliance Boots. He will report to Simon Roberts, managing director, health and beauty U.K. and ROI.
In this new role, Ashworth will lead the development and delivery of the health care strategy for Boots in the U.K. and Ireleand.
“Richard’s two decades of health care experience, leadership and service to Walgreens in a variety of roles has been invaluable to our company as we continued to develop our strategy to transform community pharmacy," stated Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO. "His move to Alliance Boots represents yet another step forward and is further testament to the strong and steady progress we are making in advancing our strategic partnership.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Richard to our group," agreed Stefano Pessina, executive chairman Alliance Boots. "His appointment further illustrates the progress we continue to make towards achieving our vision for the creation of the first global health and wellbeing enterprise. As he familiarizes himself with the U.K. and Irish markets, Richard’s experience at Walgreens will bring positive benefits to Boots and the delivery of its health care plans, as well as help further combine best practices of our two companies.”
As corporate operations VP for Walgreens since 2011, Ashworth, a pharmacist, led more than 2,000 locations in the Western division, where he was primarily responsible for the overall development and growth of all drug stores and health care points of care. Joining the company in 1992 as a service clerk, he has held various store operations leadership positions from pharmacy supervisor to market VP. He was promoted in 2007 to EVP of pharmacy benefit management services for Walgreens Health Initiatives, a subsidiary of Walgreens. In that role, he led sales and client services, clinical services and health outcomes, provider relations and the operating teams. In 2010, Ashworth was promoted to VP pharmacy operations, overseeing the clinical, operational and overall development of Walgreens pharmacies nationwide and implementation of pharmacy technology and services.