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April 20, 2012

Merck is testing two means of treating patients with chronic hepatitis C for anemia, a common side effect of certain treatments for the viral infection, the drug maker said.

BARCELONA, Spain — Merck is testing two means of treating patients with chronic hepatitis C for anemia, a common side effect of certain treatments for the viral infection, the drug maker said.

Merck announced results of a phase-3 study comparing two strategies for managing anemia and how they affect the curing of hepatitis C in patients taking Victrelis (boceprevir) with Pegintron (peginterferon alfa-2b) and ribavirin.

April 18, 2012

Roche has decided not to buy diagnostics firm Illumina, the drug maker said Wednesday.

BASEL, Switzerland — Roche has decided not to buy diagnostics firm Illumina, the drug maker said Wednesday.

Roche said it had decided not to extend its $51-per-share offer for Illumina following the reelection of Illumina's incumbent directors. Roche offered to buy Illumina for $44.50 per share in January, increasing the offer to $51 on March 29. The company took the offer directly to shareholders earlier this month after Illumina's board rejected it.

April 18, 2012

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is acquiring "certain assets" of a drug maker based in Mexico.

MONTREAL — Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is acquiring "certain assets" of a drug maker based in Mexico.

Valeant said Wednesday that it would buy gastric, analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs from branded generics manufacturer Atlantis Pharma for $71 million. The products had sales of $26 million last year.

April 17, 2012

A U.S. drug maker has made a deal with a Swiss company to manufacture and sell a new osteoporosis treatment in North America.

SAN ANTONIO — A U.S. drug maker has made a deal with a Swiss company to manufacture and sell a new osteoporosis treatment in North America.

Mission Pharmacal announced Tuesday a patent and technology licensing agreement with Freienbach, Switzerland-based EffRx Pharmaceuticals for Binosto (alendronate sodium) effervescent tablets in the United States and Canada. Financial terms were not disclosed.

April 17, 2012

Workers' compensation pharmacy costs took on an extra $2.1 billion in 2011 due to unnecessary use of more expensive drugs, according to a new report by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

ST. LOUIS — Workers' compensation pharmacy costs took on an extra $2.1 billion in 2011 due to unnecessary use of more expensive drugs, according to a new report by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

April 16, 2012

Children under the age of 10 years old may be especially susceptible to a new strain of influenza, according to an article published Friday in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report."

ATLANTA — Children under the age of 10 years old may be especially susceptible to a new strain of influenza, according to an article published Friday in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report."

April 16, 2012

Fresh off the heels of its merger with Medco Health Solutions, pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts announced Monday the launch of a medication nonadherence detection system and offered a preview of its annual "Drug Trend Report."

ST. LOUIS — Fresh off the heels of its merger with Medco Health Solutions, pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts announced Monday the launch of a medication nonadherence detection system and offered a preview of its annual "Drug Trend Report."

April 16, 2012

Two drug makers have signed a deal to develop an experimental drug for treating two types of cancer.

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Two drug makers have signed a deal to develop an experimental drug for treating two types of cancer.

Merck and Endocyte announced that they would develop and commercialize the latter's drug EC145 (vintafolide), currently in a phase-3 trial, as a treatment for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer and a phase-2 trial for non-small cell lung cancer. Both studies are also using Endocyte's experimental diagnostic agent, EC20 (etarfolatide).

April 16, 2012

Lilly Diabetes and Walgreens on Monday launched an awareness campaign at 43 Walgreens pharmacies throughout the Indianapolis area on the consequences of hypoglycemia.

INDIANAPOLIS — Lilly Diabetes and Walgreens on Monday launched an awareness campaign at 43 Walgreens pharmacies throughout the Indianapolis area on the consequences of hypoglycemia.

April 13, 2012

Drug companies invested nearly $50 billion in research and development in 2011, according to a new report by a drug industry trade group.

WASHINGTON — Drug companies invested nearly $50 billion in research and development in 2011, according to a new report by a drug industry trade group.

April 13, 2012

Get set for another decade of explosive growth throughout the over-the-counter category with the familiar switch as a catalyst. 


Get set for another decade of explosive growth throughout the over-the-counter category with the familiar switch as a catalyst. 


The Food and Drug Administration public meeting that took place last month addressed a proposal to expand the switch paradigm by utilizing the latest in communications and diagnostics technology and/or incorporating the most accessible healthcare professional — the retail pharmacist — into the self-care decision protocol. 


April 13, 2012

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America announced Friday the appointment of Eli Lilly chairman, president and CEO John Lechleiter as PhRMA chairman at its annual meeting.

BOSTON — The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America announced Friday the appointment of Eli Lilly chairman, president and CEO John Lechleiter as PhRMA chairman at its annual meeting. The group also elected Celgene president and CEO Robert Hugin as chairman-elect of its board of directors and Pfizer president and CEO Ian Read as board treasurer. Lechleiter replaces Sanofi CEO Christopher Viehbacher as chairman.

April 13, 2012

Walmart and healthcare partner Humana are out with a new prescription drug program called Rx4Value that guarantees savings and relies on the proven strategy of improving affordability by restricting choice to generic drugs.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart and healthcare partner Humana are out with a new prescription drug program called Rx4Value that guarantees savings and relies on the proven strategy of improving affordability by restricting choice to generic drugs.

April 12, 2012

AstraZeneca has launched a new drug for treating high blood pressure, the company said Thursday.

WILMINGTON, Del. — AstraZeneca has launched a new drug for treating high blood pressure, the company said Thursday.

The Anglo-Swedish drug maker announced the launch of Dutoprol (metoprolol succinate extended-release and hydrochlorothiazide) tablets, calling it the first and only pill to combine the active ingredient of its Toprol-XL ER (metoprolol succinate) and hydrochlorothiazide.

April 12, 2012

Valeant announced that it has acquired a privately owned specialty pharmaceutical company based in the United States.

MONTREAL — Valeant announced that it has acquired a privately owned specialty pharmaceutical company based in the United States.

Pedinol Pharmacal, a podiatry-focused company that has been in business for more than 85 years, was acquired for an undisclosed amount that was said to be 1.5 times sales. Pedinol touted $18 million in revenue last year.

April 11, 2012

Prasco Labs will market an authorized generic version of a drug used to treat diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection, the company said Wednesday.

CINCINNATI — Prasco Labs will market an authorized generic version of a drug used to treat diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection, the company said Wednesday.

Prasco announced that it had signed a deal with ViroPharma to market an authorized generic version of Vancocin (vancomycin hydrochloride) capsules in the 125-mg and 250-mg strengths. The drug is used to treat diarrhea related to Clostridium difficile infection.

April 11, 2012

A federal judge in Pittsburgh will rule "later" on whether to block or allow a merger between pharmacy benefit managers Medco Health Solutions and Express Scripts, and is considering a request by two trade groups seeking to keep Medco's operations and assets separate from ESI while the lawsuit is pending, according to published reports.

NEW YORK — A federal judge in Pittsburgh will rule "later" on whether to block or allow a merger between pharmacy benefit managers Medco Health Solutions and Express Scripts, and is considering a request by two trade groups seeking to keep Medco's operations and assets separate from ESI while the lawsuit is pending, according to published reports.

April 11, 2012

Move over, Lipitor: There's a new top drug on the market, according to published reports.

NEW YORK — Move over, Lipitor: There's a new top drug on the market, according to published reports.

April 11, 2012

Takeda Pharmaceutical will acquire privately owned drug maker URL Pharma for $800 million, the companies said Wednesday.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Takeda Pharmaceutical will acquire privately owned drug maker URL Pharma for $800 million, the companies said Wednesday.

Takeda announced that it would acquire Philadelphia-based URL through a U.S. subsidiary for the upfront payment plus future milestone payments. Takeda said it expected the acquisition to contribute "significantly" to its sales and profits starting in fiscal year 2013.

April 10, 2012

Biotech manufacturer Amgen will acquire the private South San Francisco, Calif.-based drug developer Kai Pharmaceuticals for $315 million, the companies said Tuesday.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Biotech manufacturer Amgen will acquire the private South San Francisco, Calif.-based drug developer Kai Pharmaceuticals for $315 million, the companies said Tuesday.

The deal includes the acquisition of KAI-4169, an experimental drug Kai is developing for secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis. Amgen has provided a loan to fund phase-3 clinical studies of the drug and will acquire rights to it worldwide, except for Japan.

April 10, 2012

Pharmacies hoping to block the merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions got their day in court Tuesday, according to published reports.

NEW YORK — Pharmacies hoping to block the merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions got their day in court Tuesday, according to published reports.

Bloomberg reported that a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania began in Pittsburgh, with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association and several independent pharmacies hoping to stop the $29.1 billion merger, which the Federal Trade Commission approved last week.

April 9, 2012

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a change to the label of a Novo Nordisk drug stating that it offers superior blood-sugar control to a competing drug made by Merck, based on results of two clinical studies, Novo Nordisk said Monday.

PRINCETON, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a change to the label of a Novo Nordisk drug stating that it offers superior blood-sugar control to a competing drug made by Merck, based on results of two clinical studies, Novo Nordisk said Monday.

April 9, 2012

Drug maker Pfizer is taking a marketing campaign for one of its drugs to Walgreens' Chicago flagship store to raise awareness about high cholesterol and healthy eating, the company said Monday.

CHICAGO — Drug maker Pfizer is taking a marketing campaign for one of its drugs to Walgreens' Chicago flagship store to raise awareness about high cholesterol and healthy eating, the company said Monday.

April 6, 2012

A panel of Food and Drug Administration experts has recommended approval for a drug made by Astellas Pharma for overactive bladder.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — A panel of Food and Drug Administration experts has recommended approval for a drug made by Astellas Pharma for overactive bladder.

The drug maker announced that the FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee voted 7-4 with one abstention that its assessment of the risks and benefits of the drug YM178 (mirabegron) supported the drug's approval.

The FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of advisory committees, but usually does. The agency is expected to decide whether or not to approve the drug by June 29.

April 6, 2012

Par Pharmaceutical has started shipping its generic version of a drug for sleep disorders, the company said Friday.

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. — Par Pharmaceutical has started shipping its generic version of a drug for sleep disorders, the company said Friday.

Par announced the launch of a generic version of Provigil (modafinil), used to treat such sleep disorders as narcolepsy and work shift sleep disorder.