HEALTH

Sun Pharma gets FDA approval for ALS generic

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of a drug for a devastating muscular disorder.

 

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries announced Tuesday the approval of riluzole hydrochloride in the 50-mg strength. The tablets are used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

 

 

The drug is a generic version of Sanofi-Aventis’ Rilutek, which has sales of around $50 million, according to Sun.

 

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FDA approves contraceptive Beyaz

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new oral contraceptive from Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.

 

The FDA announced Friday the approval of Beyaz (estrogen and progestin) tablets. The pills also contain a folate known as levomefolate calcium. Low folate levels in the body are associated with such conditions as spina bifida, and physicians recommend that women of childbearing age supplement their diets with folate.

 

 

Beyaz is based on Bayer’s Yaz. Yaz is used to prevent pregnancy, treat symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and treat acne in girls and women ages 14 years and older.

 

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Now available at Rite Aid: Pertussis immunizations

BY Allison Cerra

CAMP HILL, Pa. One week after Walgreens announced that it was offering pertussis immunizations at its California locations, Rite Aid has followed suit.

Rite Aid said Monday that pharmacists at more than 500 Rite Aid stores across the state will offer pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccinations to individuals ages 7 years and older. The disease already has claimed the lives of nine infants in the state and is on pace to become the worst epidemic the state has seen in 50 years.

Patients in California and across the nation can go online to RiteAid.com/pharmacy/immunization/ to locate the most convenient Rite Aid pharmacy where immunizations are available. Patients are urged to call first to check availability and for questions on health insurance, which may cover some of the cost of a vaccination. Walk-ins are accepted whenever possible.

Rite Aid has been offering Tdap, the whooping cough vaccination, for the past several years, and currently is available in more than half of the states where Rite Aid operates, a Rite Aid spokesperson said.

"Helping protect against whooping cough in California is just another example of how convenient neighborhood Rite Aid pharmacists can help the community stay healthy," said Robert Thompson, Rite Aid EVP pharmacy. "Administering these shots is part of Rite Aid’s expanded national immunization program, with more than 7,000 pharmacists in more than 3,000 stores vaccinating patients against flu, pneumonia and up to a dozen other highly infectious diseases."

Walgreens announced earlier this month that it was offering vaccinations for pertussis at 150 select stores in the state.

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