PHARMACY

Ambien, Januvia, Nexium see spikes in Web site traffic

BY Alaric DeArment

RESTON, Va. Ramped-up marketing efforts and Food and Drug Administration activity have driven growth among the top pharmaceutical brand Web sites, according to a market research firm that tracks Web traffic.

The firm, comScore, found that the site for AstraZeneca’s heartburn drug Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium) got the largest number of unique visitors, 1 million in the second quarter of this year, compared to 659,000 during the same period last year. The site for Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone hydrochloride), the second on the list, experienced the largest increase in unique visitors, from 34,000 in the second quarter of 2007 to 855,000 in the second quarter of 2008­ an increase of 2,399 percent. comScore attributed the increases to aggressive marketing by the two companies.

Meanwhile, the site for Merck’s diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) had the second largest increase, 329 percent, from 118,000 visits last year to 507,000 visits this year. The largest decrease came from the site for Sanofi-Aventis’ insomnia drug Ambien CR (zolpidem tartrate). Visits to that site went from 1.95 million last year to 756,000 this year, a drop of 61 percent.

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PHARMACY

Shopko donates school supplies to Green Bay area elementary school

BY Alaric DeArment

GREEN BAY, Wis. An elementary school in Green Bay received a variety of school supplies from a locally headquartered retail chain.

Shopko announced Oct. 2 that it had donated the supplies to Sunrise River Elementary, which serves students in second through fifth grade. The supplies included basic items from the school’s required supply list.

Shopko operates stores throughout the Midwest and West.

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ARCA Biopharma makes unprecedented payment to Aeolus following FDA approval of bucindolol

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Aeolus Pharmaceuticals announced Friday that it had received a $175,000 milestone payment from ARCA Biopharma following the Food and Drug Administration’s acceptance of an approval application for a cardiovascular drug.

Aeolus said the drug, bucindolol, could be the first genetically targeted cardiovascular therapy. CPEC, a company owned jointly by Aeolus and Indevus Pharmaceuticals, licensed all rights to bucindolol to ARCA.

“ARCA’s success in demonstrating the potential benefits of bucindolol in treating heart failure in patients is encouraging,” Aeolus president and chief executive officer John McManus said in a statement. “We look forward to an expeditious review and hope for a positive outcome.”

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