PHARMACY

Abbott posts 31.5 percent year-on-year 2Q profit increase

BY Drew Buono

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott Laboratories released its second-quarter results today, showing profits rose to $1.32 billion, an increase of 31.5 percent from $988.7 million during the same period last year, according to published reports. Total sales for the company in the quarter rose nearly 15 percent to $7.3 billion.

The profit increase is mostly due to increased sales by its blockbuster arthritis medication Humira and increased business overseas. The drug had revenue of more than $1 billion, an increase of 48 percent compared with last year. As a result of this quarter’s result, Abbott has raised the full-year expectations for the drug to $4.3 billion. Two other drugs that posted double-digit growth in the quarter were, the cholesterol pill Niaspan and the HIV medication Kaletra.

Also, the company raised its full-year guidance to between $3.24 and $3.28 from $3.20 to $3.25. This, however, is considered a low number due to the fact that earlier this month Abbott won federal approval to market its highly anticipated Xience V Drug-coated stent, used to prop open arteries once they have been surgically cleared of fatty plaque. The new product was promoted as a safer alternative to similar products from Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific and Medtronic.

The company estimates sales for its stent division will double in the third quarter to between $225 and $250 million, above what some analysts expected.

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PHARMACY

FDA updates prescribing info for GSK’s Avandia

BY Drew Buono

BRENTFORD, U.K. GlaxoSmithKline announced that the Food and Drug Administration has updated the prescribing information for its diabetes medication Avandia to include findings from the A Diabetes Outcome Progression Trial, according to published reports.

ADOPT is an international study on Avandia that demonstrated that patients treated with Avandia achieved greater sustained glycemic control compared to metformin and sulfonylurea, the ingredient in Aventis Pharmaceuticals’ Amaryl and Pfizer’s Glipizide. Better glycemic control has been proven to reduce risks of serious complications associated with Type 2 diabetes including blindness, loss of limbs and kidney failure, the company added.

This is key for the drug, which was given the black-box warning indication from the FDA last August after it was discovered that the drug might cause or worsen heart failure in some patients.

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Walgreens program shows students the pharmaceutical ropes

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS Walgreens is letting high school students spend four weeks working as pharmacists.

It’s not for real, so customers at the stores shouldn’t expect kids too young to drive to fill their prescriptions, but the chain is working with the St. Louis College of Pharmacy to let the students learn about the profession as part of the Career Explorers Program.

Their job is to fill prescriptions for imaginary customers, such as Mickey Mouse, but it’s not all just for fun.

As the population ages, pharmacists are in high demand. The Pharmacy Manpower Project has created the aggregate demand index, which lists demand for pharmacists at 4.07, indicating moderate demand and difficulty filling some positions.

According to the American Pharmaceutical Association, there are 112,000 pharmacists working in community pharmacies, 40,000 in hospital pharmacies and 21,000 in other areas.

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