PHARMACY

Diplomat appoints Gary Rice as VP clinical services

BY Alaric DeArment

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy has appointed a longtime specialty pharmacy executive to its executive team, the company said Thursday.

Diplomat announced that it had made Gary Rice its VP clinical services. Rice had previously worked as Diplomat’s director of clinical services.

"One of Diplomat’s primary goals is to provide industry-leading clinical services to our patients and clients, and Gary’s long-standing career in pharmacy management demonstrates his success as a clinical leader," Diplomat president and CEO Phil Hagerman said. "In addition, Gary’s expertise in market and competitive intelligence will strengthen Diplomat’s innovation and growth efforts."

Before he began working for Diplomat, in June 2011, Rice was VP operatinos at ITSRx, and before that served as director of specialty clinical management at MedImpact Healthcare Systems, and VP retail and ancillary services and director of pharmaceutical services at the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston.

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PHARMACY

AstraZeneca launches Dutoprol

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. — AstraZeneca has launched a new drug for treating high blood pressure, the company said Thursday.

The Anglo-Swedish drug maker announced the launch of Dutoprol (metoprolol succinate extended-release and hydrochlorothiazide) tablets, calling it the first and only pill to combine the active ingredient of its Toprol-XL ER (metoprolol succinate) and hydrochlorothiazide.

"Dutoprol may provide another treatment option for patients with hypertension," AstraZeneca executive director of foundation brands Steve Davis said. "We have launched Dutoprol so patients now have the option to receive a branded combination of medicine in a convenient, once-a-day tablet."

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Impax Labs files Gralise patent challenge

BY Alaric DeArment

HAYWARD, Calif. — Generic drug maker Impax Labs is challenging the patent protection on a drug used to treat postherpetic neuralgia, the company said Thursday.

Impax announced that it had filed a regulatory approval application with the Food and Drug Administration for gabapentin tablets, a generic version of Depomed’s Gralise, in the 300-mg and 600-mg strengths.

The application contained a Paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the patents covering the drug are invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed. In response, Depomed filed a lawsuit against Impax Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Gralise had sales of about $1.3 million during the three-month period ended in February, according to Wolters Kluwer Health.

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