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Around the Traps

By a Staff Writer
News Items, Background Information and Items of Interest

Issue 77: November 2008
Page: 1 of 1 Author's Profile | Send to a Friend | Printer Version

Organisations with pharmacy connections are invited to share their news, product releases or opinions in this column.
This Month:

* Champix found to be ONE OF THE most cost effective treatment for quit smoking

* PFIZER SHOWS ACCELERATING PIPELINE WITH SIGNIFICANT GROWTH IN LATE-STAGE CLINICAL DEVELOPMENT-Phase 3 Cohort Now Includes 25 Programs; Additions in Key Disease Areas Including Cancer and Heart Disease

* LocumCo founder Sue Muller featured in new book on CEO success stories


Champix found to be ONE OF THE most cost effective treatment for quit smoking

  A new analysis released shows smoking cessation medicine Champix® (varenicline) helps prevent tobacco-related deaths.  Commissioned by NSW Cancer Institute – the pharmacotherapy evaluation report uncovered that Champix helps avoid the highest number of tobacco related deaths of between 1,600-1,800 per 100,000 smokers.  The report examined current evidence in evaluating pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation in Australia. Various therapies reviewed in the study included Nicotine Replacement Therapies and prescription medicines, including Champix.  Further key findings of the report highlighted Champix as one of the most cost effective therapies. Using incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER), Champix was found to have an ICER of $5000 per year life saved. This is significantly lower than the average value of $50,000-$60,000 per year life saved which is generally accepted as the upper limit of acceptable cost effectiveness for pharmacotherapies in the Australian Health Care system. 

The report illustrated that patients on any pharmacotherapy are more likely to remain continuously smoke free at 6-12 months than those who take a placebo or go cold turkey. In Australia, about 60 per cent of smokers are estimated to have some intention of reducing their tobacco smoking. The Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy has reported that the estimated cost savings associated with avoided mortality due to reduced tobacco use in Australia over the last 30 years was $8.6 billion. 

There are few things that provide greater health benefits than quitting smoking. Quitting smoking is extremely difficult but counseling and medication can help.  When considering the use of Champix for their patients, healthcare providers should discuss the risks of smoking, the health benefits of quitting smoking and the medicine’s efficacy and safety profile.



Phase 3 Cohort Now Includes 25 Programs; Additions in Key Disease Areas Including Cancer and Heart Disease

Pfizer Inc has provided the latest update to its development pipeline, showing significant progress in achieving the company’s growth, productivity and performance goals.

The pipeline now includes 114 programs, from Phase 1 through Registration.  The number in late-stage (Phase 3) development has grown from 16 to 25 over the past six months.

In total, 31 programs advanced to the next stage of development; 13 were discontinued; and one was withdrawn from registration. The majority (19) of the advances were in Pfizer’s identified high-potential disease areas, including oncology, pain, inflammation, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

“We are making significant operational improvements and driving our strategies to accelerate development, refocus investments and further improve execution, including trial design and cycle times,” said Martin Mackay, President of Pfizer Global Research & Development.  “We are investing in the most promising disease areas, where there is strong unmet medical need, favourable markets and an opportunity to advance medical science.”

Pfizer’s pipeline acceleration is ahead of projections given to investors in March 2008.  At that time, the company announced the goal to grow its Phase 3 pipeline to at least 24 – and as many as 28 new molecular entities or new indications – by December 2009. The company is targeting 15-20 regulatory submissions in the period 2010-2012.

The company is vigorously driving its biotechnology investments and has 16 biotherapeutics in development, including CP-751871, a fully humanised monoclonal antibody which works against the Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1-R).  CP-751871 recently began Phase 3 testing against non-small-cell lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

The company has seven other cancer programs in Phase 3, including two potential new indications for Sutent in hepatocellular and prostate cancer.  Sutent is taken orally and is a highly selective, multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor that starves tumours of blood and nutrients needed for growth and simultaneously kills cancer cells that make up tumours.  It is also being tested in Phase 3 against breast, lung, and colorectal cancers.

Also advancing to Phase 3 is a potential new renal cell carcinoma indication for axitinib.  This is an oral, selective inhibitor of VEGFR (vascular endothelial growth factor receptors 1, 2 and 3), which has been shown to induce tumour regression.

Pfizer’s updated pipeline is posted at www.pfizer.com and shows each compound name with the relevant disease area.  The mechanism of action is also shown for late-stage programs. 


LocumCo founder Sue Muller featured in new book on CEO success stories

Founder of The Pharmaceutical Locum Company (LocumCo) Sue Muller has been featured in a new book edited by Joanne Neely, " CEO Success Stories".

Sue founded the company in 1986, while working as a pharmacist and carrying a mobile phone to field enquiries. Now, twenty two years later that same company is the leading pharmacy recruitment service in Australia.

In the profile Sue describes how she saw a gap in the market for a service to assist pharmacy owners source locums to cover while they were away, and how she grew the business from there to where it is today.
She also talks about what factors have led to the success of  the business, including outsourcing non-core work to sub-contractors, using technology to work smarter and maintaining a work-life balance within the business.

The book profiles CEOs from a wide cross-section of businesses and doesn't just stick to the larger end of town, featuring CEOs from smaller businesses and rural-based businesses as well.

"CEO Success Stories" is published by Wilkinson Publishing and costs $39.95.

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