PHARMACY

Walgreens offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens now is offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries at all of its more than 7,100 pharmacies throughout the country.

Following the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D insurance plans, Walgreens is assisting those beneficiaries who’ve made changes to their prescription drug coverage. Review sessions with Walgreens pharmacists are available daily by appointment through Jan. 31, and are designed to help patients maximize their plan benefits.

Review sessions include:

  • A review of beneficiary’s current medications, tiers within their selected plan, co-pays and cost-savings opportunities
  • Discussion of available health and wellness services including pneumonia and shingles vaccinations and 90-day prescription benefits
  • Checks for potential drug interactions

Customers can call their nearest Walgreens pharmacy to schedule an appointment. Visit www.walgreens.com or call 1-800-Walgreens for store locations and hours.

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Behavioral Diabetes Institute addresses emotional, psychological aspects of living with diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

SAN DIEGO, Calif. Diabetes patients can ease their worries about living with the disease, as one organization focuses on an often-ignored area of treatment: The emotional and psychological issues surrounding both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

The Behavioral Diabetes Institute is the world’s first organization dedicated to tackling the unmet psychological needs of people with diabetes. The BDI offers an array of evidence-based clinical programs, all designed to help people overcome the emotional and behavioral obstacles to living well with diabetes. Based in San Diego, the BDI is committed to helping people master the unique challenges of diabetes, conducting behavioral research in diabetes and providing healthcare providers with the specialty behavioral training necessary for managing diabetes effectively.

The Behavioral Diabetes Institute was founded five years ago by William Polonsky, a clinical psychologist, certified diabetes educator, associate clinical professor at the University of California – San Diego, and author of “Diabetes Burnout: What To Do When You Can’t Take It Anymore.”

Polonsky and his colleagues provide useful tools through BDI’s Web site, BehavioralDiabetes.org. They also offer small group workshops and programs for adults and adolescents with diabetes throughout the year. These include their core program, “Getting on Track;” the multiweek depression series, “Feeling Good Again: Breaking the Depression/Diabetes Connection,” and — new for 2010 — programs for eating disorders in diabetes.

For more information on the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, visit BehavioralDiabetes.org

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Pfizer to develop cancer drug with Debiopharm

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Two drug makers have entered an agreement to develop a drug designed to treat melanoma.

Pfizer said that it would resume the development of its drug tremelimumab with the help of Swiss drug maker Debiopharm. As part of the agreement, Debiopharm will conduct a phase 3 trial of the drug, while Pfizer will retain responsibility for worldwide commercialization of the compound.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, occurs in about 69,000 patients in the United States each year, and results in about 9,000 deaths. The number of melanoma cases worldwide is increasing faster than any other cancer.

Pfizer’s investigational drug, tremelimumab (CP675,206), currently in phase 2, is a fully human igG2 monoclonal antibody which has been in development for the treatment of advanced melanoma. In April 2008, Pfizer announced that it had discontinued a phase 3 clinical trial for patients with advanced melanoma after the Data Safety Monitoring Board review of interim data showed that the trial would not demonstrate superiority to standard chemotherapy.

“The continuation of the clinical development of tremelimumab with our partner, Debiopharm, is a demonstration of our commitment to personalized medicine for cancer patients,” said Garry Nicholson, president and GM of Pfizer’s Oncology Business Unit. “Debiopharm is a successful company which has achieved impressive results on a global scale. This co-development partnership is an opportunity to leverage the combined expertise of both companies in this innovative endeavor.”

Financial terms of the co-development agreement between Debiopharm and Pfizer have not been disclosed.

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