PHARMACY

Genzyme sells diagnostics biz

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Biotech company Genzyme is selling its diagnostics business to Sekisui Chemical for $265 million, Genzyme said Thursday.

 

Under the deal, Sekisui will purchase the diagnostics business’ assets, including product lines and technologies, and offer employment to its 575 employees while maintaining operations in all of its current locations.

 

 

“With this transaction, we are continuing to execute on our plan to increase value for shareholders,” Genzyme chairman and CEO Henri Termeer said. “This sale is part of our strategy to sharpen the company’s focus and allocate our resources to key areas for our future growth, such as manufacturing, our rare disease business and our product pipeline.”

 

 

The diagnostics business is one of three that Genzyme has sought to sell off, the other two being Genzyme Genetics, which it sold to Laboratory Corp. of America in September, and the pharmaceuticals business, which it has yet to sell.

 

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Merck’s cardiovascular drug improves cholesterol levels in patients during late-stage trial

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Patients taking an investigational treatment for cardiovascular disease showed big improvements in cholesterol levels, according to late-stage clinical trial results released Wednesday.

 

Merck announced results of its 18-month phase-3 trial of anacetrapib in 1,623 patients with coronary heart disease. The drug showed no difference in safety compared with placebo, and 16 patients experienced cardiovascular problems –– cardiovascular death, heart attack, unstable angina or stroke –– compared with 21 taking placebo. Data were presented Wednesday at the scientific sessions of the American Heart Association and published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

 

 

Most importantly, after 24 weeks of treatment among patients who had previously taken a statin, the drug decreased “bad” LDL cholesterol by 40% while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol by 138%.

 

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Local independent pharmacy models program after NCPA’s Dispose My Meds

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A group representing the nation’s independent pharmacies praised a local drug store’s participation in a drug take-back program.

The National Community Pharmacists Association lauded the Great Peconic Take Back event, held Wednesday, which served the eastern Suffolk area of New York. Led by Bob Grisnik of Southrifty Drug, located in Southampton, N.Y., the free service allowed anyone wishing to safely dispose of his or her expired or otherwise unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications to bring the medications to any of the 15 participating pharmacies of the newly formed Peconic Independent Pharmacy Association.

The program is based on the NCPA’s Dispose My Meds program, which addresses drug diversion and environmental contamination.

“It’s exciting to see community pharmacies working together to meet the growing patient demand for a safe and environmentally friendly way to discard unused medications. Programs like this should be voluntary, but I hope many pharmacies seize the opportunity to create their own programs to meet the needs of their patients,” said Robert Greenwood, NCPA president.

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