PHARMACY

Actelion launches Valchlor

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Actelion has launched a topical gel used to treat a kind of skin cancer, the company said.

Actelion announced the launch of Valchlor (mechlorethamine), which the Food and Drug Administration approved in August for treating stage 1A and 1B mycosis fungoides-type cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in patient who have received skin-directed therapy before. Actelion acquired rights to the drug when it merged with Ceptaris Therapeutics. Accredo Specialty Pharmacy distributes the drug in the United States.

"The availability of Valchlor is exciting news for patients and the treatment community," Stanford University School of Medicine professor and director of the school’s Multidisciplinary Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic Youn Kim said in a statement on behalf of Actelion. "Physicians now have the option to treat appropriate MF-CTCL patients with the first formulation of topical mechlorethamine that is FDA-approved based on rigorous clinical evidence to support its use." 

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Perrigo completes $8.6 billion acquisition of Elan Corp.

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN — Perrigo has finalized its acquisition of Elan Corp., Perrigo said Wednesday.

The Michigan-based maker of branded and generic prescription and OTC drugs announced last week that the Irish High Court had approved its $8.6 billion deal to buy Ireland-based Elan, the last regulatory hurdle it had to clear before finalizing the deal, which it announced in July.

"The combined company establishes a diversified platform that will position Perrigo well for further expansion," Perrigo chairman and CEO Joseph Papa said. "When combined with the royalty stream from Tysabri, a blockbuster product that generated revenues of $1.6 billion last year, this platform will create an industry-leading global healthcare company with the balance sheet liquidity and operational structure to accelerate our growth."

 

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More teens abusing Adderall, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A new study has found a significant increase in the number of high school students who report having abused a common prescription drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, even as abuse of other prescription drugs has decreased or remained low.

According to the University of Michigan’s annual "Monitoring the Future Study" survey, improper use of Teva’s Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) has been rising since 2009. Back then, rates of abuse among high school seniors were 5.4%, a figure that rose to 6.5% in 2010 and 2011, and then to 7.6% in 2012. The current rate stands at 7.4%. The survey included about 41,600 teenagers in the eighth through 12th grades.

"The rates of Adderall misuse and abuse among high school seniors remains unacceptably high, and the new data make it very clear: The abuse of all prescription medicines is an immediate threat to the health of America’s teens," The Partnership at Drugfree.org president and CEO Steve Pasierb said. "Another year of data and a harsh spotlight specifically on prescription stimulants must serve as a call to all families to address the issue of intentional medicine abuse."

By contrast, abuse of Novartis’ Ritalin (methylphenidate), another ADHD drug, was much lower at 2.3%, while abuse of AbbVie’s opioid painkiller Vicodin (hydrocodone; acetaminophen) had significantly decreased, from 10.5% in 2003 to 5.3% this year. Abuse of cough medicines containing dextromethorphan also has decreased from 6.9% in 2006 to 5% this year.

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