PHARMACY

Alkermes stock declines on potentially bad news

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Mixed results from drugs caused Alkermes stock to decline Wednesday.

News that patients using Eli Lilly’s diabetes drug Byetta had died have raised concerns about Exenatide LAR, a drug that Eli Lilly developed with Alkermes that is a long-release version of Byetta.

At the same time, Johnson & Johnson said the Food and Drug Administration had requested additional information about its drug paliperidone palmitate—potentially delaying its approval—which would increase sales for Risperdal Consta, an anti-psychotic drug that Alkermes also helped develop.

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PHARMACY

Court rules that county can sue drug maker

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN FRANCISCO A lawsuit by Santa Clara County, Calif., against drug makers that allegedly charging county hospitals too much for prescription drugs for recipients of California’s Medicaid program will continue, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Wednesday.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling affirms that counties can sue drug makers under a law from 1992 requiring pharmaceutical companies to sell drugs to the Medicaid program for a percentage of their average retail price.

The lawsuit, which Santa Clara County filed in 2005, follows findings by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services that Medicaid programs nationwide paid drug companies $3.9 million more than they should have for drugs, while the federal government had failed to adequately enforce the law. Defendants, including AstraZeneca, have denied the allegations.

The appeals court’s decision overrules the decision by a federal court in San Francisco that had dismissed the county’s lawsuit.

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Aurora offers meningitis vaccinations before start of school

BY Alaric DeArment

MILWAUKEE In observance of National Immunization Awareness Month, Aurora Health Care is offering meningitis vaccinations for children at its Aurora QuickCare clinics, Aurora announced Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends meningitis vaccinations for adolescents, college freshman living in dormitories and adults up to age 55.

“This is a great time to offer meningitis immunizations,” Aurora QuickCare nurse practitioner Janet Teske said. “Students can get it taken care of before the hustle and bustle of the school year begins, although we do offer vaccinations all year.”

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