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Wedgewood Pharmacy will continue to provide Avastin to ophthalmologists and retinal specialists


Wedgewood Pharmacy will continue to provide Avastin® to ophthalmologists and retinal specialists

(Swedesboro NJ, January 21, 2008) Wedgewood Pharmacy has announced that it will continue to provide Avastin® (Bevacizumab) to retinal specialists and ophthalmologists who request it for their patients. The announcement responds to Avastin’s manufacturer, Genentech’s, decision to stop supplying Avastin directly to compounding pharmacies as of January 1.

Avastin is administered by retinal specialists and ophthalmologists to treat age-related wet macular-degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Although regulators haven't authorized Avastin's use against eye disease, it is chemically similar to Genentech’s new product, Lucentis®, which is about 50 times as costly as Avastin. On prescriptive authority of physicians, compounding pharmacies prepare, under sterile laboratory conditions, a once-monthly dose of the drug for use in the eye that costs about $40.

At Wedgewood, technicians trained in aseptic technique prepare Avastin 25mg/ml in individual syringes in a Class-1000 clean room under a Class-100 laminar-flow hood to assure sterility and quality.

“Many retinal specialists consider the Avastin treatment option as an indispensable part of their practices.” said George Malmberg, RPH, FACA, FACVP the pharmacist president and CEO of Wedgewood Pharmacy. “We will continue to meet the critical and ongoing need for Avastin in ophthalmologic practice. Unlike other firms, we do not require that our customers make a long-term contractual agreement to purchase this vital medicine from us.”

Avastin is an FDA-approved drug that is used in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. Based on the pioneering work of Dr. Philip Rosenfeld, a professor of Ophthalmology at the world-renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Avastin also has been used off-label by retinal specialists and ophthalmologists to treat thousands of patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that causes blindness.

About Wedgewood Pharmacy

A compounding pharmacy creates customized medications for individual patients in response to a licensed practitioner’s prescription. Wedgewood Pharmacy is one of the largest compounding pharmacies in the United States, serving more than 25,000 prescribers of compounded medications. It is located in Swedesboro NJ and licensed throughout the United States.

Background: About Compounding Pharmacy

Because every patient is different and has different needs, customized, compounded medications are a vital part of quality medical care. The basis of the profession of pharmacy has always been the "triad," the patient-prescriber-pharmacist relationship.

Through this relationship, patient needs are determined by a prescriber, who chooses a treatment regimen that may include a compounded medication. Prescribers often prescribe compounded medications for reasons that include (but are not limited to) the following situations:

  • When needed medications are discontinued by or generally unavailable from pharmaceutical companies, often because the medications are no longer profitable to manufacture;
  • When the patient is allergic to certain preservatives, dyes or binders in available off-the shelf medications;
  • When treatment requires tailored dosage strengths for patients with unique needs (for example, an infant);
  • When a pharmacist can combine several medications the patient is taking to increase compliance;
  • When the patient cannot ingest the medication in its commercially available form and a pharmacist can prepare the medication in cream, liquid or other form that the patient can easily take; and
  • When medications require flavor additives to make them more palatable for some patients.

For additional information, visit the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists’ Web site at www.iacprx.org and www.compoundingfacts.org.

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