PHARMACY

To avoid dispensing errors, Takeda changes drug name

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. A drug made by Takeda Pharmaceuticals for treating heartburn is getting a name change, Takeda announced Thursday.

The Japanese drug maker’s U.S. subsidiary said it would change the brand name of Kapidex (dexlansoprazole) to Dexilant. The drug’s chemical composition and formulation will remain unchanged, and the name change is meant to avoid confusion with similarly named products such as AstraZeneca’s prostate cancer drug Casodex (bicalutamide) and Actavis’ painkiller Kadian (morphine sulfate).

 “Takeda’s first priority is patient safety, which is why we initiated a widespread communications campaign to inform healthcare professionals and pharmacists as soon as we learned about the potential for confusion,” Takeda VP medical and scientific affairs Robert Spanheimer said. “Recently, through discussions with the FDA, we agreed that the best way to minimize these dispensing errors was to change the trade name of dexlansoprazole to Dexilant.”

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PHARMACY

Pfizer may buy Ratiopharm

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK It appears that Pfizer has changed its mind a second time about buying Ratiopharm.

According to published reports, Pfizer has renewed its offer for the German generic drug maker, for $4 billion. That pits the world’s largest drug maker against generic drug makers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Actavis.

Pfizer has been on a hunt for opportunities lately, most notably with its acquisition of Wyeth, as it faces patent expirations on such high-selling drugs as the cholesterol medication Lipitor (atorvastatin).

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Walgreens completes acquisition of SpecialtyScripts

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has completed its acquisition of prescription files from Cardinal Health subsidiary SpecialtyScripts, based in Fall River, Mass., Walgreens announced Wednesday.

Founded in 2002, SpecialtyScripts niche is in providing specialty pharmacy services for such chronic illnesses and complex diseases as hepatitis C, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and oral oncology.

Walgreens said the acquisition would allow Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy to scale the operations of its existing locations. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We’re excited about our acquisition of SpecialtyScripts and see it as an opportunity to grow our specialty pharmacy business through additional preferred payer agreements,” Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy EVP and Walgreens divisional VP Michael Nameth said in a statement. “It’s a good fit for us because SpecialtyScripts has a similar client base, and we share a commitment to providing patients and customers with quality care and exceptional service.”

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