PHARMACY

Cipla to acquire InvaGen, Exelan

BY David Salazar

MUMBAI, India — Cipla is continuing to expand its U.S. footprint as the company announced Tuesday that it would be acquiring generic drug companies InvaGen Pharmaceuticals and Exelan Pharmaceuticals in a $500 million, all-cash transaction. The acquisitions will bring InvaGen’s 32 products and 40 approved abbreviated new drug applications, as well as Exelan’s management team and institutional market under the company’s control. 

“We are delighted with the immediate and substantial relevance this combination brings to Cipla in the USA,”Cipla USA director and North America CEO Tim Crew said. “We are committed to an orderly transition process with customers and InvaGen to ensure the on-going continuity of a high quality and reliable supply to our customers and their patients” 

The acquisition also gives the India-based company a larger generics footprint in the American market, as Cipla USA launched its own label products in January.

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Vernalis launches 12-hour Tuzistra XR

BY David Salazar

BERWYN, Pa. — Vernalis Therapeutics announced Tuesday that its Tuzistra XR (codeine polistirex and chlorpheniramine polistirex) extended release syrup has been made available ahead of cold and flu season. The 12-hour dosage strength syrup is meant to treat coughs from the cold or upper respiratory allergies in adults 18 years of age and older.

“The launch of Tuzistra XR marks a significant milestone for Vernalis Therapeutics and demonstrates our capability to build a broad portfolio of unique, long-acting, liquid formulations of branded prescription cough cold products in the U.S. market,” Vernalis Therapeutics SVP commercial operations Tom Parker said. “We are pleased to offer physicians and patients a proprietary Schedule III, 12-hour, codeine and chlorpheniramine combination liquid product to help manage cough and cold symptoms in advance of this year's cough cold season.”

The 12-hour formula has its advantages for prescribers and patients, the company said.

“Until now, physicians looking to prescribe a codeine-containing antitussive have been limited to short-acting medications," Dr. Pascal Borderies, Vernalis Therapeutics SVP medical affairs said. “Tuzistra XR's extended-release liquid delivery system allows for less frequent dosing than traditional codeine cough syrups. This makes it a viable option for patients looking to extend the relief of cough and symptoms associated with upper respiratory allergies or the common cold with twice-daily dosing.”

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CDC announces $20 million to fight prescription drug abuse

BY David Salazar

ATLANTA —  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday a new program, “Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States,” which aims to invest in 16 states currently battling an epidemic of prescription drug overdoses. The program will commit $20 million in FY2015 and is part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Opioid initiative.

“The prescription drug overdose epidemic requires a multifaceted approach, and states are key partners in our efforts on the front lines to prevent overdose deaths,” said HHS secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. “With this funding, states can improve their ability to track the problem, work with insurers to help providers make informed prescribing decisions, and take action to combat this epidemic.”

Under the program 16 states — Ariz., Calif., Ill., Ky., Neb., N.M., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., Tenn., Utah, Vt. And Wis. — will receive between $750,000 and $1 million in funding each year for the next four years. The money will go to enhance prescription drug monitoring programs, implementing community-level prevention, responding to overdose issues, developing communications campaigns or surveillance systems and working with providers, health systems and insurers to discuss how to make informed prescribing decisions around pain medication. In the coming year’s budget from the President, there is a request from Burwell that will seek funding for a 50-state prevention and abuse surveillance program. 

In addition to combatting prescription drug abuse, funding also will go toward understanding heroin overdoses and the connection between opioid abuse and heroin use. In 2013, prescription opioid overdoses killed 16,000 people, and the number of prescriptions has quadrupled since 1999 despite no shift in the amount of reported pain among U.S. patients, the CDC said.

“The prescription drug overdose epidemic is tragic and costly, but can be reversed,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said. “Because we can protect people from becoming addicted to opioids, we must take fast action now, with real-time tracking programs, safer prescribing practices, and rapid response.  Reversing this epidemic will require programs in all 50 states.”

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