PHARMACY

Study data shows Victoza works better than competitor

BY Alaric DeArment

ORLANDO, Fla. A recently approved drug for Type 2 diabetes made by Novo Nordisk worked better than a competitor made by Merck, according to results of a study presented at a recent scientific meeting.

Novo Nordisk said that Victoza (liraglutide [rDNA origin]) combined with metformin provided greater reductions in hemoglobal A1c, body weight and fasting plasma glucose than Merck’s Januvia (sitagliptin) plus metformin after a year. The Danish drug maker presented the results at the 70th annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in Orlando, Fla.

According to the study, patients taking Victoza experienced reductions in hemoglobin A1c ranging from 1.3% to 1.5%, depending on dosage, compared with 0.9% for Januvia. Those taking Victoza lost an average of 6.16 to 8.14 pounds, compared with 2.64 pounds among those taking Januvia. After a half-year open-label study, 497 patients were enrolled for a half-year extension study.

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NCL: Patients concerned about therapeutic substitution

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Nearly 75% of consumers would feel “very concerned” if a drug they used was switched to another drug designed to treat the same condition without their doctors’ knowledge, according to a new survey by the National Consumers League. One-in-5 said they still would be concerned if their doctors knew.

The practice, known as therapeutic substitution, has become common among insurance companies as healthcare costs have increased. The practice involves switching a medication that is not chemically equivalent or simply a generic version, but belongs to the same class as what the patient already takes.

“Consumers are justifiably concerned about the practice of therapeutic substitution, how it’s done and who’s involved,” NCL executive director Sally Greenberg said. “For some conditions and treatments, it may make good financial and medical sense to swap out one prescription for another. But, as consumers reported in our survey, it’s essential for them to be part of the process, to know their doctor is aware and supportive of the switch and to feel confident that their health and treatment – not financial incentives – are top priority.”

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Independents will gain clout with NCPA-CDC alliance

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The partnership between the National Community Pharmacists Association and Chain Drug Consortium brings together one of the largest pharmacy trade groups in the country with one of the largest purchasing organizations.

(THE NEWS: NCPA, CDC buying group forge new ties. For the full story, click here)

This means the amount of clout that the NCPA has on Capitol Hill will combine with the CDC’s purchasing and marketing abilities to help bolster independents, a segment of the pharmacy industry that often has struggled in comparison with the big national chains.

For the NCPA, it also might be a way to attract new members. The CDC’s membership includes a number of regional chains around the country that still may qualify for NCPA membership and often face many of the same challenges as independents, especially considering the difficulties that the group often has had in finding new members and the number of independent pharmacies that have been forced to close down over the years.

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