PHARMACY

WellPoint will cover GSK rotavirus vaccine

BY Drew Buono

INDIANAPOLIS WellPoint has announced that effective immediately, it will cover the rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, designed to prevent a virus, which causes vomiting, and diarrhea in infants and children. The decision to cover Rotarix was based on formal recommendations announced last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

ACIP recommended that Rotarix be added to the list of recommended inoculations offered to infants. The drug is a liquid given in a two-dose series to infants 6-24 weeks old. According to the CDC, rotavirus infection is the leading cause of diarrhea in infants and young children, both in the U.S. and worldwide.

The vaccine will be covered for infants whose benefit plans provide coverage for vaccines.

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FDA issues final approval for Perrigo’s generic Zyrtec

BY Alaric DeArment

ALLEGAN, Mich. The Food and Drug Administration has given approval to Perrigo to manufacture and market cetirizine hydrochloride syrup in 1mg per milliliter strength.

The syrup, a generic version of McNeil Consumer Healthcare’s Zyrtec syrup, relieves symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

“This approval reflects both our strategy to be first to market with important products and the unique position of the company both in front of and behind the pharmacy counter,” Perrigo Chairman and chief executive officer Joseph Papa said.

Pfizer, which originally marketed Zyrtec, reported that it had sales of $1 billion in 2007. Pfizer lost U.S. exclusivity for Zyrtec in January, according to its annual report.

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Nestea introduces green tea with higher antioxidant concentration

BY Adam Kraemer

ATLANTA Iced Tea brand Nestea announced today the launch of its new Green Tea Citrus and Diet Green Tea Citrus products with 50 percent more antioxidants than before, as well as a brand new look.

The new varieties combine all-natural fruit flavors and the natural goodness of tea, largely in response to consumer health awareness. Both products now contain 50 percent more natural tea antioxidants, with 96 milligrams of flavonoid antioxidants per eight fluid ounce serving.

“As summer approaches, it is the perfect time to introduce products for consumers who want to quickly revitalize their day,” said Penny McIntyre, senior vice president and general manager of coffee and tea for Coca-Cola North America. “Nestea offers delicious, simple blends of tea and natural fruit flavors. Our new Green Tea Citrus products with even more antioxidants are great additions to our line of refreshing teas.”

The new packaging features dynamic graphics that call attention to the antioxidant content and all-natural fruit flavors. Nestea’s Iced Tea with Lemon and Diet Iced Tea with Lemon flavors come in 20 ounce and half-liter plastic bottle 12-packs. The Iced Tea with Lemon also comes in aluminum cans (regular and diet) and 2-liter plastic bottles (regular).

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