PHARMACY

Drug approvals low in 2010

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — This past year saw a lower-than-usual number of new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration, due in part to delays at the agency, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that 21 new drugs were approved through the year, compared with 25 in 2009 and 24 in 2008. The lag came in part due to stricter safety regulations, the newspaper reported.

One drug that experienced a delay was MannKind Corp.’s inhaled insulin Afrezza (insulin human [rDNA origin]); the FDA informed the company at the end of December that it would require four additional weeks to complete its review of the application for the drug.

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GE, Intel launch new joint telehealth venture to broaden seniors’ independent living choices

BY Jim Frederick

FAIRFIELD, Conn., and SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A new joint healthcare venture between GE and Intel was launched on Monday, and both companies promise it will improve the quality of life for seniors.

The new company, called Intel-GE Care Innovations, “will develop technologies that support healthy, independent living at home and in senior housing communities,” both firms said. Care Innovations already has installed an executive team and board of managers “to support the new company’s transition and future growth,” according to the statement.

This isn’t the first joint healthcare venture for the two corporate giants, who also partnered in April 2009 to launch digital health platforms. Care Innovations, said representatives for both companies, “combines assets and the expert teams and operations of both GE Healthcare’s Home Health division and Intel’s Digital Health Group” in a broader suite of health services for seniors and other health consumers.

“Our vision … is for Care Innovations to positively affect millions of people by providing innovative products and services that will enable new models of care,” said Louis Burns, CEO of Care Innovations. The company, he added, “will help drive the business strategy necessary to improve quality of care and patient empowerment while helping reduce healthcare costs through new technologies.”

Care Innovations markets remote patient monitoring, independent living concepts and assistive technologies like the Intel Health Guide, Intel Reader and GE QuietCare. The company also is continuing to develop healthcare IT innovations aimed at helping healthcare providers “drive toward lower costs and a higher quality of life for patients worldwide,” both firms said.

“The jointly owned company’s focus is to help address some of the largest issues facing society today, including the aging population, the growing number of people with chronic conditions and increasing healthcare costs,” Intel and GE added.

Driving the venture are growth projections for the telehealth and home health monitoring segments of the healthcare industry. Those segments will grow to an estimated total of $7.7 billion in sales by 2012, according to Care Innovations.

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Sandoz launches new dosages of authorized Lotrel generic

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. — Sandoz has launched higher dosages of its authorized generic version of a hypertension drug, the generics division of Swiss drug maker Novartis said Monday.

Sandoz announced the launch of amlodipine besylate and benazepril in the 5-mg/40-mg and 10-mg/40-mg strengths. The company already marketed the drug in the 2.5-mg/10-mg, 5-mg/10-mg, 5-mg/20-mg and 10-mg/20-mg strengths.

The drug is an authorized generic of Lotrel, marketed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals. An authorized generic is a branded drug marketed under its generic name at a reduced price.

The 5-mg/40-mg and 10-mg/40-mg strengths of Lotrel had sales of around $313 million during the 12-month period ended in October 2010, according to IMS Health.

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