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Biosimilars should carry same generic names as branded biologics, GPhA says

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A trade group for the generic pharmaceutical industry is hoping the Food and Drug Administration will allow biosimilars to share the same generic names as their branded biologic counterparts, saying that giving biosimilars their own generic names would not enhance safety.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association said Thursday that it had filed a petition with the FDA recommending that all biosimilars the agency approves carry the same international non-proprietary name, or INN, as the branded products they’re based upon because they are considered to have no clinically meaningful difference. For example, Hospira’s Inflectra, the autoimmune treatment recently approved by the European Medicines Agency, carries the generic name infliximab, the same name as reference product Remicade, sold by Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

"It is simple: biosimilars have no clinically meaningful difference from the reference product, so they should have the same name," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "This approach works in Europe; it has worked in the United States for chemical drugs, and it should be the standard worldwide. To upset the naming system in place risks engendering confusion and would have a major negative impact throughout the global pharmaceutical supply chain, potentially jeopardizing patient access across the globe."


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Progresso adds new soup varieties to lineup

BY Jason Owen

MINNEAPOLIS — Progresso Soup announced on Thursday new varieties of ready-to-eat soups to the company’s product lineup, including in its Progresso Light and Progresso Heart Healthy lines.

Joining the Progresso Light line are Light Chicken Corn Chowder and Chicken and Cheese Enchilada.

Three new soups will join the Rich and Hearty line: Tomato Florentine with Italian Sausage, Lentil and Andouille Sausage, and Creamy Alfredo with Penne and Chicken.

The new line of Heart Healthy soups contains 120 calories or less per serving and features bold flavors to meet everyone’s taste preference including; Southwest Style Black Bean & Vegetable, Creamy Tomato with Basil, Homestyle Vegetable Beef, Savory Garden Vegetable, Italian-Style Wedding with Meatballs, Hearty Minestrone, Savory Chicken & Wild Rice, Creole Style Chicken Gumbo, Roasted Chicken Noodle and Tomato with Parmesan. Progresso Heart Healthy soups meet the U.S. Food & Drug Administration criteria for a low fat, low saturated fat and low-cholesterol food, as well as the FDA "healthy" criteria for sodium of 480 mg or less per label serving, and contain a good source of a beneficial nutrient.

All Progresso soups are available nationally and have a suggested retail price of $2.69 per 1 LB 2.5 oz-can.


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Medbox hopes to get $40 million from medical, recreational marijuana dispensing

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – A company that makes vending machine-like systems has a new business: medical and recreational marijuana.

Medbox said Thursday that it had been contracted to file dispensary license applications and build-out facilities in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, Illinois and Nevada, as well as recreational licenses in Washington and Colorado. Residents of the latter two states voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana last year.

Medbox said that licenses in those markets are limited, and competition between applicants is fierce, but that it hopes to hit $5 million in sales per state in consulting and technology sales. The company noted that there has been "evidence of overzealous consultants" who are "preying on the public" with unrealistic success rates, overpriced services and duplicate work product to multiple parties competing against each other for the same dispensary license.

"We have a proven track record of taking care of business for our clients and getting results," Medbox CEO Bruce Bedrick said. "We have filed our applications in Vermont and Massachusetts for our clients, and we are eagerly awaiting filing additional applications for our clients in Connecticut, Nevada and Illinoise when those licensing periods commence over the course of the next few months."

 

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