PHARMACY

Victoza improves blood-sugar levels in African-Americans, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

ORLANDO, Fla. African-Americans with Type 2 diabetes taking a Novo Nordisk drug showed improvements in blood sugar, according to a study presented Wednesday at a medical conference.

Novo Nordisk said that of the 187 African-American patients in the study of the drug Victoza (liraglutide [rDNA]), 78% of those taking the 1.8-mg dose and 55% of those taking the 1.2-mg dose once a day reached the American Diabetes Association’s blood sugar target of less than 7%, compared with 19% of those taking placebo. Results of the study were presented at the 2010 National Medical Association Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly in Orlando, Fla.

According to studies, African-Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites, and 25% of those between the ages of 65 and 74 years have the disease.

“This analysis confirms that Victoza is a safe and effective treatment for African-Americans with Type 2 diabetes and may be a good option for those patients struggling with blood sugar control,” study investigator and endocrinologist at New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Anthony Cannon said in a statement. “African-Americans are among the most affected by diabetes, so it’s important that we examine the safety and efficacy of diabetes treatment in this patient population.”

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PHARMACY

Drugstore.com extends partnership with Medco Health Solutions

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Drugstore.com on Tuesday announced the extension through 2018 of its strategic alliance with Medco Health Solutions.

In 2008, Medco launched its Medco Health Store — an online retail destination offering a wide range of non-prescription consumer health products, including over-the-counter medicines. Drugstore.com supplied technical and operational support for this launch, including fulfillment, distribution and customer care for the Medco-branded online store. Today, the Medco Health Store has grown to include more than 1.4 million registered members.

“Our partnership strategy is a key driver of Drugstore.com’s growth and leverages our leadership in online merchandising and fulfillment in the health and beauty category,” stated Dawn Lepore, CEO and chairman of Drugstore.com. “Medco is a leader in the healthcare and pharmacy industries and we are excited to be extending this relationship.”

“Medco’s partnership with Drugstore.com has enhanced the comprehensive healthcare and pharmacy services we deliver to our clients and their members,” added Tom Moriarty, general counsel, secretary, and SVP, pharmaceutical strategies and solutions, Medco Health Solutions.

In addition to extending the term of the relationship, the economic arrangement between Drugstore.com and Medco has changed, giving Medco more flexibility in pricing and promotions.

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Pfizer’s Q2 sales get boost from specialty drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer had a big increase in sales and a modest increase in profits during second quarter 2010, according to a financial statement released Tuesday.

The world’s largest drug maker had $17.3 billion in sales and $2.5 billion in profits, compared with $11 billion in sales and $2.3 billion in profits in second quarter 2009, representing respective increases of 58% and 9%.

The increase in sales included a 165% increase in sales of specialty drugs, from $1.4 billion in second quarter 2009 to $3.8 billion this quarter, stemming from Pfizer’s purchase of Wyeth. Cancer drug sales decreased by 2%, from $355 million to $349 million, while primary care drugs increased from $5.2 billion to $5.9 billion, and established products increased from $1.7 billion to $2.7 billion. Biotech drug sales increased from $10 billion to $15 billion.

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