PHARMACY

GSK to pay legal charge relating to Avandia

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will take a legal charge of $3.4 billion related to its promotion of a controversial diabetes drug.

The British company said the charge related to an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado regarding sales and promotion of the drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) in spite of reports of the risk of heart attacks in patients taking it.

“We recognize that this is a significant charge, but we believe the approach we are taking to resolve long-standing legal matters is in the company’s best interests,” GSK SVP global litigation P.D. Villarreal said. “We have closed out a number of major cases over the last year, and we remain determined to do all we can to reduce our litigation risk.”

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Court: Teva, Barr Labs must hold off on generic versions of Sensipar

BY Alaric DeArment

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Barr Labs are prohibited from marketing a generic version of an Amgen drug for patients with chronic kidney disease until the drug’s patents expire, under a recent court decision.

Amgen announced that a U.S. District Court in Delaware ruled that the two companies would have to hold off launch of their version of Sensipar (cinacalcet) until 2018, when the last patent expires. The drug is used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with CKD and elevated levels of calcium in patients with parathyroid carcinoma.

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling, which validates Amgen’s position that the Sensipar patents are valid, enforceable and infringed,” Amgen SVP, general counsel and secretary David Scott said. “Amgen will continue to vigorously defend its innovative products from infringement.”

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FDA panel votes against Lilly’s EPI treatment

BY Allison Cerra

INDIANAPOLIS — An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration voted last week not to recommend approval of a drug from Eli Lilly.

The FDA Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee said it recommended that additional studies be conducted prior to the FDA’s review of liprotamase, a nonporcine pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. EPI is a disease resulting from cystic fibrosis, removal of the pancreas, chronic pancreatitis and other conditions.

Lilly’s PERT was developed by Alnara, which the drug maker acquired in July 2010.

The FDA is not required to follow the recommendation of its advisory committees.

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