PHARMACY

Cigna instates emergency policies for members affected by wildfires

BY Allison Cerra

PHILADELPHIA Cigna has announced that it is pitching in to help its members affected by the devastating fires in California.

The company said Friday that it would expedite the handling of prescriptions, expand access to employee assistance programs, offer flexibility in handling claims and assist members gain easier access to their needed medications by allowing members in the affected areas to have their prescriptions refilled before the usual refill timeframe, without prior authorization.

Cigna also said that it is implementing its mail-order pharmacy for those who lost their prescriptions. The program, called Cigna Tel-Drug, allows those medications to be sent to the member anywhere in the United States.

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PHARMACY

GSK ready to cut jobs following quarterly losses

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA GlaxoSmithKline is ready to let some of its workers go to make up for its recent report of lost earnings.

The company reported that total pharmaceutical turnover for the third quarter fell by 2% to $9.4 billion. In the United States, turnover fell 7% to $4.5 billion, impacted by continued generic competition and largely because of a 38 percent drop in sales of its diabetes drug Avandia.

The plan is a three-year $1.4 billion move that includes job cuts, most likely starting at its Avandia sales force. According to the London Times, the company is awaiting what the Food and Drug Administration will report about their findings on Avandia and if it should receive a “black box” warning for heart attack risks.

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FDA approves Marillion NDA for novel cancer treatment

BY Drew Buono

MALVERN, Pa. Marillion Pharmaceuticals has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for it investigational new drug application for its lead product candidate MN-201, a vitamin D5 analog for the treatment of cancer.

The drug will now proceed to Phase 1 human clinical trial for patients with advanced tumors in various cancers.

In preclinical studies, MN-201 performed well against cancer cells. In animal models, MN-201 also resulted in anti-tumor activity including tumor regression in xenograft models of major solid tumor types. In contrast to treatment with other vitamin D(3) analogs and the naturally occurring vitamin D hormone, calcitriol, favorable anticancer effects with MN-201 were observed in the absence of significantly raised calcium levels.

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