PHARMACY

Cold sore treatment Xerese enters market

BY Alaric DeArment

HUDDINGE, Sweden — Meda has launched a new cold sore treatment made by commercialization partner Medivir, Medivir said Tuesday.

The Swedish drug maker launched Xerese (acyclovir and hydrocortisone), a topical combination product designed to treat recurrent herpes simplex labialis.

Medivir said the U.S. market for cold sore products is $230 million, and it expected the drug to be successful, given Meda’s presence in the U.S. market.

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Forest gets nod for COPD drug

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease made by Forest Labs, the agency said Tuesday.

The FDA announced the approval of Daliresp (roflumilast), a daily pill designed to decrease the frequency of flare-ups or worsening of symptoms from severe COPD. The agency said the drug did not have a brand name at the time of approval, though Forest already had chosen one at the time of this writing. The drug is for people with severe COPD to treat the symptoms of cough and excess mucus linked with bronchitis, but not primary emphysema. COPD comprises both diseases.

“COPD is a serious disease that gets worse over time,” FDA Office of Drug Evaluation II director Curtis Rosebraugh said. “New treatment options that reduce frequency of flare-ups or exacerbations are important in helping patients with COPD associated with chronic bronchitis and a history of exacerbations in managing this debilitating disease.”

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CVS Caremark closer to completing acquisition of Universal American’s Part D business

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I., and RYE BROOK, N.Y. — In connection with the previously announced $1.25 billion acquisition of the Medicare Part D business of Universal American by CVS Caremark, both companies have announced that the Federal Trade Commission has granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of second quarter 2011 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of Universal American shareholders and state regulatory approvals.

The acquisition will more than double the size of CVS Caremark’s Medicare Part D program.

"With this step, we are much closer to furthering CVS Caremark’s position as a significant player in one of the nation’s fastest-growing segments of the pharmacy benefit management industry. Now that we have achieved this important milestone, we look forward to closing the deal in the next several months," stated Per Lofberg, president of Caremark Pharmacy Services. "We believe that bringing together these two businesses will strengthen our competitive offerings, enabling us to provide Medicare beneficiaries with expanded products and services and lower the cost of pharmacy care. Today’s approval puts us well on our way to accomplishing our goal."

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