PHARMACY

Walgreens Health Initiatives study shows highly managed plans lower drug costs

BY DSN STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. An upcoming report from pharmacy benefit manager Walgreens Health Initiatives shows that while overall prescription drug costs increased, drug costs on highly managed plans decreased by 0.07 percent.

The report, Walgreens Health Initiatives Outlook, Trend Report 2008, took data from all eligible clients rather than through the random sampling method most companies use. The total cost increase for prescription drugs was 5.66 percent, or 4.8 percent if specialty drugs are not counted.

The report also shows a dispensing rate of 61.2 percent for generic drugs. Clients save 2 percent in the cost of their plans for every 1 percent increase in their use of generic drugs, according to the PBM’s analysis.

Walgreens Health Initiatives is a subsidiary of nationwide drugstore chain Walgreen Co. It has certification from the HR Policy Association, which comprises senior human resource executives of 250 of the largest corporations in the U.S.

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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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