New cystic fibrosis drug keeps pharmacists busy | Sandoz commits to keep coronavirus drug prices stable | Popular drug price app shares sensitive data
February 27, 2020
Specialty Pharmacy SmartBrief
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Leading News
Across the country, pharmacists are busy transitioning patients and enrolling new patients in Vertex's Trikafta, or elexacaftor-tezacaftor-ivacaftor, the life-changing drug that treats the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis. Enrollment may be a complicated and lengthy process, and specialty pharmacies are focusing on obtaining prior authorizations and enrolling patients as rapidly as possible.
Full Story: Specialty Pharmacy Continuum (2/27) 
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Specialty Pharmacy Update
Sandoz, a Novartis subsidiary, has promised to maintain the prices of medications that may be helpful for treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus in response to concerns raised regarding a potential drug shortage.
Full Story: Reuters (2/26) 
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Popular drug price app shares sensitive data
GoodRx, an app that helps consumers find the lowest prices on prescription drugs, shares data with more than 20 companies including Google, Facebook and Braze that the companies could use to associate specific users with their searches for antidepressants, erectile dysfunction drugs, HIV preventives and other drugs. GoodRx's business partners say they don't sell or share the data for marketing or advertising, but the data is not subject to HIPAA rules.
Full Story: Consumer Reports online (2/27) 
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Three papers investigated the relationship between benzodiazepines and dementia. Taken together, these papers provide reassuring information that benzodiazepines when used over the long-term do not contribute to the subsequent development of dementia. However, there are other reasons to minimize their use in older adults and in persons with dementia, especially the well-documented risks for adverse (cognitive) effects, incident delirium, and falls. More efforts may be needed to address inappropriate prescribing and to raise awareness of chronic use of potentially offending medications.
Full Story: Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (2/2020) 
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Legislation & Regulation
Takeda's Alunbrig, or brigatinib, which targets anaplastic lymphoma kinase genetic mutations, was granted priority review status by the FDA as a first-line treatment for ALK-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/HemOnc Today (2/24) 
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Seqirus' Fluad Quadrivalent, a quadrivalent, adjuvanted influenza vaccine, has gained the FDA's approval as a protective treatment against seasonal influenza in adults 65 years of age or older. Approval was based on trial data that showed the vaccine's safety and efficacy in persons within this age group.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration) (2/24) 
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The FDA has accepted for review the application filed by GlaxoSmithKline for its drug Zejula, or niraparib, to expand its label as a first-line maintenance treatment in female patients who have advanced ovarian cancer that responded to platinum-based chemotherapy. The application will be reviewed under the FDA's real-time oncology pilot program.
Full Story: PMLive (UK) (2/25) 
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Clinical & Research News
An analysis of data from 26 observational studies found acid-suppression drugs may increase the risk of intestinal colonization of Enterobacterales and vancomycin-resistant enterococci, as reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers said the data may offer insight into the appropriate use of acid suppressants.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/Gastroenterology (2/24) 
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American investigators from Harvard University and a team of Chinese researchers from China's Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health will collaborate, backed by $115 million in funding, to develop preventive and curative treatments for the new coronavirus spreading rapidly across the globe. The Chinese team will be led by Dr. Zhong Nanshan, who was credited with the discovery of the SARS coronavirus in 2003.
Full Story: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (2/24) 
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Editor's Note
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An empty canvas is a living wonder -- far lovelier than certain pictures.
Wassily Kandinsky,
painter, art theorist, pioneer of abstract art
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