PHARMACY

Pharmacy school updates practice laboratory

BY Alaric DeArment

DES MOINES, Iowa Drake University’s pharmacy school has made several technology updates at its practice laboratory, the university announced last week.

The university said the renovations to the Donald F. Davidson Pharmacy Practice Laboratory were possible through a gift from trustee and alumnus Donald Davidson.

The lab includes technology available in most major retail pharmacy stores, such as automation equipment and software like PDX EPS Rapid Fill, a gift from PDX.

“This environment is the same as real-life pharmacies – the same equipment, software and process – eliminating the worries about technology and allowing the students to focus on patient care,” pharmacy practice instructor Heidi Price said in a statement. “Students who haven’t even touched the lab or software before can learn to fill prescriptions in just 10 minutes.”

Drake has started a number of initiatives for pharmacy students lately, including a partnership with GRX Holdings to provide internships through Medicap Pharmacy stores in central Iowa, funded in part by grants from McKesson Corp., Pharmacists Mutual and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation.

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Merck, Cardiome Pharma to collaborate, develop atrial fibrillation treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

VANCOUVER, B.C. Merck & Co. and Cardiome Pharma Corp. announced this week that they would collaborate to develop and commercialize a drug being investigated as a treatment for atrial fibrillation.

The agreement provides Merck with exclusive global rights to the oral formulation of vernakalant, designed for the maintenance of normal heart rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation. It also provides Merck with exclusive rights outside North America for an intravenous formulation of the drug used for rapid treatment of the disease.

“This agreement underscores Merck’s ongoing commitment to the research and development of new cardiovascular drugs,” Merck Research Laboratories SVP and franchise head of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular Luciano Rossetti said. “Vernakalant is an important addition to our broad portfolio of products and candidates that target multiple aspects of heart disease.”

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FDA approves new topical treatment of head lice

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new prescription topical medication for treating head lice, the agency announced Thursday.

Sciele Pharma’s Benzyl Alcohol Lotion, 5% is the first head lice treatment approved by the FDA that uses benzyl alcohol as its active pharmaceutical ingredient. It is meant for patients ages 6 months and older.

“Head lice are a problem that impacts more than 1 million children each year and is easily transmitted to others,” FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock said. “This drug is an effective first-line treatment to eliminate lice infestation and minimize disruption in the daily routines of families.”

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