PHARMACY

CVS Caremark recognized for employee health initiatives

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark’s proactive approach to workplace health and its investment in programs that help employees and their families make better choices about their health and well-being has been recognized with an award from the National Business Group on Health, the company announced on Tuesday.

This recognition came with CVS Caremark’s inclusion on the 2010 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles list unveiled this week by the National Business Group on Health at its Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-being Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. The company received a Gold Award for its WellRewards programs supporting employees who embrace healthy behaviors and who commit to long-term behavior changes to improve their health. CVS Caremark was the only company in the retail pharmacy or PBM sectors to be recognized at the Summit. CVS Caremark also won this recognition in 2009.

"As a company that is contributing to the health of millions of Americans through our CVS/pharmacy stores, our MinuteClinic network of retail clinics and our pharmacy services division, we are excited to receive national recognition once again for our wellness programs for our own colleagues," stated Larry Merlo, president and COO of CVS Caremark. "We thank the National Business Group on Health for this honor as we continue to empower employee health at CVS Caremark and to make high quality health care more accessible and more affordable for consumers and for employers and other health plan sponsors."

Now in its sixth year, the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles awards reward those employers who have responded to the need to improve their workers’ health, productivity and quality of life. CVS Caremark’s wellness investments helped employees in several key areas in 2009 including smoking cessation, improved rates of mammograms and colon-cancer screenings, prenatal maternity care, physical activity and healthy eating.

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Gilead patent for Ranexa challenged by Lupin

BY Alaric DeArment

FOSTER CITY, Calif. Indian generic drug maker Lupin is challenging a Gilead Sciences patent for a drug that treats chronic angina, Gilead said.

Gilead said it received a notice that Lupin had filed an approval application with the Food and Drug Administration for a generic version of Ranexa (ranolazine) extended-release tablets. Lupin’s application contained a Paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion under the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984 that Gilead’s patents covering Ranexa are invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed by Lupin’s version.

Under the Hatch-Waxman Act, Gilead has 45 days from the receipt of the letter to file a patent infringement lawsuit against Lupin. Such a suit would prohibit the FDA from approving Lupin’s version of the drug for two and a half years or until the court rules against Gilead. The patents covering Ranexa are set to expire in 2019, according to FDA records.

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Taro sales rise in Q1

BY Alaric DeArment

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. First-quarter sales for Taro Pharmaceutical Industries increased by 5.2% to $89.3 million from $84.9 million in first quarter 2009, the Israeli generic drug maker said Monday.

Profit for the quarter was $10.2 million, compared with $11.1 million in first quarter 2009, including a $3.8 million decrease resulting from foreign exchange expenses related to changes in rates between the U.S. and Canadian dollars.

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