PHARMACY

AstraZeneca, Forest Labs to develop ceftaroline

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Two drug companies have announced an agreement to develop a drug for treating drug-resistant bacterial infections.

New York-based Forest Labs and Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca said Wednesday that they would work together to develop and commercialize ceftaroline in markets outside the United States, Canada and Japan.

The drug, currently in late-stage clinical trials, is designed to treat complicated skin structure infections and community-acquired bacterial pneumonia caused by bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and multi-drug resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. Forest hopes to file an approval application with the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year, while AstraZeneca hopes to file one for Europe by the end of next year.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will pay Forest a signing fee, royalties from sales and milestone payments and assume responsibility for development, approval and commercialization of ceftaroline in the areas covered by the agreement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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MinuteClinic offering new rapid pink eye test in Atlanta market

BY Antoinette Alexander

ATLANTA MinuteClinic, in partnership with Rapid Pathogen Screening, is offering a new rapid pink eye test at its 23 locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in the Atlanta area, and hopes to eventually offer the test nationally at all its clinic locations in 25 states.

“MinuteClinic patients will get on-the-spot results that provide a more precise pink eye diagnosis,” stated Donna Haugland, MinuteClinic chief nursing officer. “This helps prevent the overuse of antibiotics and can lead to prescription savings.”

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an infectious — and frequently highly contagious — condition that is most often caused by either a virus or bacteria. It is often spread among children in close environments such as schools, camps and recreational activities.

Until now, the accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of pink eye has been difficult, according to MinuteClinic. While treatment with antibiotics is only necessary in 40% to 60% of cases, the majority of medical professionals prescribe antibiotics nearly 100% of the time.

Indiscriminately prescribing antibiotics compounds the side effects associated with their overuse and increases patient resistance to these medications.

The cost for conjunctivitis treatment is $77.

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Survey finds most moms do not keep kids up to date with vaccinations

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK A new survey released last week reports that most moms know their children need additional vaccines beyond those received when they were infants or small children. But according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, most pre-teens and teens do not have all the vaccinations that the agency recommends.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, with support from Merck, found that 4-out-of-5 moms of pre-teens and teenagers agree that pre-teens and teenagers need additional vaccines beyond those they received when they were younger.

“These results mirror what I see in my own practice — a lot of adolescents not up to date on their vaccines, in spite of their parents awareness of the need for them,” stated Lolita McDavid, a pediatrician practicing at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. “Taking your kids — including pre-teens and teens — for an annual check-up should be as routine as buying them school supplies. I encourage all moms to schedule an appointment with their child’s health care professional today and to visit www.cdc.gov to learn more about the vaccines recommended for pre-teens and teens.”

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