PHARMACY

Galderma Labs launches new pump design for rosacea drug

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT WORTH, Texas — Galderma Labs has launched a newly designed pump dispenser for a drug used to treat rosacea, the drug maker said Tuesday.

Galderma announced the availability of the dispenser for MetroGel (metronidazole) gel in the 1% strength. The drug is used to treat bumps and blemishes in patients with rosacea. The Food and Drug Administration approved the pump in October.

"MetroGel 1% is the most widely prescribed branded topical medication for rosacea by physicians, and it makes sense to provide this proven treatment to patients in a way that suits their desire for more convenience," University of California Los Angeles clinical instructor of dermatology Debra Luftman said. "Not only will the pump make it simpler for patients to use the treatment, it may help provide consistent dosing so that patients use the correct amount of medication."

Rosacea, which is treatable but has no cure, affects more than 16 million people in the United States.


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PHARMACY

Taro committee continues to evaluate Sun offer, Taro says

BY Alaric DeArment

HAIFA BAY, Israel — A committee formed by Taro Pharmaceutical Industries in December is continuing to evaluate an acquisition offer by India-based Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Taro said.

Sun is hoping to acquire Israel-based Taro for $24.50 per share.

The committee, comprising members of the company’s board of directors, has brought on Citigroup Global Markets as its financial adviser and is receiving legal advice from Israeli legal firm Goldfarb Seligman & Co. and U.S. firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

Sun originally sought to buy Taro in May 2007 for $7.75 per share, and both companies agreed to merge, but Taro terminated the merger agreement in May 2008. Sun has continued trying to acquire Taro since then.


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PHARMACY

PCMA launches advertising campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The main lobby representing pharmacy benefit managers is launching an advertising campaign amid scrutiny the industry has received lately from the public and lawmakers.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association announced Tuesday the launch of its new "That’s What PBMs Do" ad campaign, which includes print and video ads that focus on what the PCMA called PBMs’ role in reducing pharmacy costs, Medicare Part D and mail-order pharmacy.

"This ad campaign will educate policy-makers and opinion leaders about the important savings and safety benefits PBMs provide to more than 216 million Americans," PCMA president and CEO Mark Merritt said.

The campaign comes in the wake of bad publicity concerning the proposed $29.1 billion merger between PBM giants Medco Health Solutions and Express Scripts, which numerous consumer advocacy groups, as well as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association have strongly opposed and which has attracted scrutiny from Congress. In December, four members of Congress — including the entire South Dakota congressional delegation and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., sent letters to Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz opposing the merger, followed last week by a letter to Leibowitz from a coalition of consumer advocacy groups, including the Consumer Federation of America, Community Catalyst, the National Consumers League, the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices and U.S. PIRG.

In addition, a contracting dispute between ESI and Walgreens and the chain’s subsequent exit from ESI has left millions of Walgreens customers unable to get their drugs and has prompted the chain’s competitors to try and draw them away. Some analysts say that a combined ESI and Medco could send even more customers to other retailers unless the Walgreens and ESI come to an agreement.


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