PHARMACY

Time magazine: Retail-based clinics play important role in healthcare system

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK A recent article in Time magazine underscored the important role that retail-based clinics play in today’s U.S. healthcare system, and is a strong sign that clinic expansion will continue.

“For all the complexities of the U.S. health-care crisis, most Americans experience the problem in a straightforward way: it’s just too hard to schedule face time with your family doctor, and it costs too much when you finally get in the door. Of the approximately 1 million physicians working in the U.S., just 30% provide primary care. If you do get an appointment during the week, you’ll probably have to take off time from work and carve out at least a few hours to sit in a waiting room. And if you get sick on a weekend, good luck,” the article stated. “That, of course, is assuming that you have a doctor in the first place, not a given in a country where up to 50 million people lack health insurance.”

The article, dated June 10, goes on to explain how, in the past decade, more and more pharmacy retailers, grocers and big-box stores have carved out space for the retail-based clinics. Today, there are currently more than 1,100 retail-based clinics in operation nationwide.

Aside from addressing the cost and access benefits to those patients with acute ailments, the article highlight that “the cornerstone of prevention is early detection.” This is an important point that Time brings up as retail-based clinics and the nurse practitioners working in these facilities strive to augment – not replace – a patient’s primary care provider.

In some cases, these clinics have even proven to be lifesavers as some patients have come in thinking they suffered from a minor ailment when it actually proved to be a serious medical condition that required immediate attention. In those situations, the nurse practitioners have helped patients get immediate medical attention by directing them to a primary care physician or to the emergency room.

The article also noted that some retailers are taking the concept further by working with local health systems and hospitals.

“In times of economic crisis, the ability of the free market to solve problems may come into question. But in one vital corner of the economy, a little creative capitalism is helping fill a gap,” the article stated.

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Xenon, Merck team up for cardiovascular disease treatment research

BY Anna Mcgrath

Xenon announced its recent partnership with Merck and Co. to study innovative small molecule candidates for the potential treatment of cardiovascular disease.

According to their agreement, Merck has the option to exclusively license targets and compounds from Xenon for development and commercialization. Xenon then receives research funding and eligibility for exercise fees, research, development and regulatory milestone payments of up to $94.5 million for the first target and up to $89.5 million for each subsequent target used for drug discovery. Xenon will also receive an undisclosed percentage of product sales and retains the right to develop and commercialize certain compounds

Michael Hayden, CSO of Xenon added, “We recognize that Merck is a leading pharmaceutical company with significant presence in and commitment to the cardiovascular space and they are an ideal strategic partner for Xenon. This new alliance, which represents our fifth partnership with a major pharmaceutical company, once again highlights Xenon’s R&D capabilities and validates our drug discovery platform.”

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FDA approves Seroquel for adolescents

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration has given a positive review to an AstraZeneca drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The Anglo-Swedish drug maker announced that the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee had given favorable review to its supplemental approval application for Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate). AstraZeneca is seeking approval for the drug as a treatment for schizophrenia in adolescents ages 13 to 17 and bipolar mania in children and adolescents ages 10 to 17.

“We are pleased that the committee found Seroquel to be effective and acceptably safe for treating adolescents with schizophrenia and children and adolescents with biopolar mania, and we look forward to having further discussions with the FDA regarding the sNDAs,” AstraZeneca chief medical officer Howard Hutchinson said in a statement, referring to the company’s supplemental new drug applications.

The same day the advisory committee made its decision about Seroquel, it also voted in favor of Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zyprexa (olanzapine) as a treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar episodes in adolescents, ages 13 to 17.

The committee’s decisions do not constitute approval, but the FDA takes them into consideration when deciding whether to approve a drug.

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