PHARMACY

Arthritis Advisory Committee urges FDA to approve Takeda drug

BY Alaric DeArment

OSAKA, Japan The Arthritis Advisory Committee has recommended that the Food and Drug Administration approve a drug from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. for treating gout, the committee announced Monday.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend the approval of febuxostat, which treats hyperuricemia in gout patients. The FDA will review Takeda’s approval application and make its decision, but may or may not follow the committee’s recommendation.

“Today’s vote by the Arthritis Advisory Committee, recommending approval of febuxostat for the treatment of hyperuricemia in patients with gout, is a positive step in bringing this new treatment to market,” Takeda Global Research and Development president Nancy Joseph-Ridge said in a statement.

An FDA official said Thursday that the drug does not increase the risk of heart disease. Takeda has sought approval for the drug since 2004.

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PHARMACY

King announces acquisition of Alpharma

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISTOL, Tenn. King Pharmaceuticals will acquire Alpharma in a deal worth $1.6 billion, King said Monday.

Alpharma had rejected a $33-per-share bid King made earlier, but accepted the most recent $37-per-share bid.

Alpharma, based in Bridgewater, N.J., has lately sought regulatory approval for painkillers designed to thwart abuse, such as Remoxy, a liquid capsule-based formulation of oxycodone.

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Viagra under investigation for effect on athletes

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating whether the drug Viagra gives athletes a competitive advantage on the playing field.

The drug, known generically as sildenafil citrate and made by Pfizer, works by opening the blood vessels. According to published reports, some experts have said this could give athletes more endurance by increasing the bloodstreams ability to deliver oxygen.

If studies indicate that Viagra does give athletes an advantage, WADA will consider listing it as a performance-enhancing drug.

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