Court reverses decision in Neurontin patent case
JERUSALEM The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reversed a decision made by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in regards to Pfizer’s patent on the nerve pain treatment drug Neurontin.
The District Court had originally favored Teva in its decision and allowed the generic manufacturer to launch its gabapentin drug in late 2004. The original patent by Pfizer was set to expire in 2017.
The ruling will allow Pfizer to seek judgment on infringement against the generic manufacturers, and if successful, pursue full compensation for the damages it suffered since the generic versions launched. Pfizer had sales of more than $2 billion a year from Neurontin before the generic versions launched.
Democrats vow to re-examine Medicare provisions, Baucus says
WASHINGTON Cuts in Medicare payments to private health insurers won’t be included in a children’s health bill, leaving the program at a standstill, a Wall Street Journal article reports.
Unless Congress and the White House agree to the funding of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which expires at the end of September, approximately five million children will be left uninsured. To mitigate this, Montana Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate committee that oversees Medicare, has debated with the idea of cutting payments to Medicare Advantage insurers and increasing taxation on tobacco products to balance the lack of funding.
Baucus also said that the Medicare committee wishes to improve other aspects of the program, including improvements in having health insurers pay retail pharmacies immediately following the dispensing of medications.
Senate Democrats, led by Baucus, have passed a bill by a margin of 68 to 31 to increase funding by $35 billion. The House Democrats’ bill, sponsored by Michigan’s John Dingell, passed 225 to 204 and increases that amount to $50 billion.
President Bush, on the other hand, wishes to increase the budget of the children’s health bill by a comparatively small $5 billion over five years, and treat the federal-state health insurance policy the same way the government treats food and housing—which is, making it available to low-income families only.
U.S. goverment to sponsor 10 ImClone cancer trials
WASHINGTON The U.S. government will sponsor 10 clinical trials of ImClone Systems’ compound IMC-A12 to treat cancer in the breast, bones, liver, lung, pancreas, and other organs. The compound blocks a receptor on tumor cells that are needed for their development, by acting against a protein called insulin-like growth- factor type 1 receptor, which stops the cells from growing and dividing.
According to Eric Rowinsky, ImClone’s chief medical officer, “Because the insulin-like receptor appears to be active in so many cancers, the co zmpany plans to test IMC-A12 in at least eight types of cancer. The fact that the cancer institute will also conduct 10 trials doubles our capacity right off the bat.”
The company is years away from seeking approval for the drug, but did just begin the second stage of human tests for colon cancer with it.