PHARMACY

IMS Health executive: Generic competition can help U.S. save billions

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Loss of patent protection for branded drugs and subsequent competition from generics could save the U.S. healthcare system $70 billion or more over the next four years, according to published reports.

 

Reuters reported IMS Health SVP Murray Aitken as saying at the Reuters Health Summit that generics also would increase their dominance in terms of prescriptions dispensed, increasing from 77% during the first half of this year to perhaps 85% by 2014.

 

 

Anumber of blockbuster drugs are expected to lose patent protection and face generic competition in the years to come, notably Pfizer’s cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) –– the world’s top-selling drug, with more than $7 billion in sales in the United States alone, according to IMS –– which will lose protection next year and face generic competition from Ranbaxy Labs.

 

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CVS/pharmacy, Warner Home Video support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

BY Antoinette Alexander

BETHESDA, Md. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced on Monday that it will partner with CVS/pharmacy and Warner Home Video for the second year to raise funds for cystic fibrosis through the sale of classic family movies this holiday season.

From now through Dec. 28, CVS/pharmacy will sell four animated holiday movies from Warner Home Video, including “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” “Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales” and “The Polar Express.” The videos will be sold exclusively at CVS/pharmacy. For every video purchased, CVS/pharmacy and Warner Home Video will donate $5 to benefit the Foundation.

Cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease that causes life-threatening lung infections and premature death. It affects about 70,000 people worldwide. The foundation has fueled dramatic improvements in research and care that have changed the prognosis for people with the disease. Where most children with cystic fibrosis once died before reaching elementary school, now people with the disease live into their 30s and beyond.

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RA patients may benefit from weekly injection of Orencia, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Patients with rheumatoid arthritis derive about as much benefit from a weekly injection of a biotech drug made by Bristol-Myers Squibb for the disease as they do from receiving it via IV on a monthly basis, according to late-stage clinical trial data released Monday.

Bristol announced results of a phase-3 study showing that patients with moderate to severe RA receiving a weekly injection under the skin of Orencia (abatacept) showed similar improvements to those receiving the IV. Results of the study will be presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual scientific meeting in Atlanta.

The study included 1,457 patients who had moderate to severe RA and did not respond adequately to the drug methotrexate. Patients were placed at random in groups that received either weekly injections of Orencia with a single IV loading dose or IV Orencia with methotrexate. After six months, 69.8% of those receiving injections and 65% of those on IV were showing improvements.

“These findings are significant because they demonstrate that subcutaneous Orencia may provide an additional administration option for patients and physicians,” lead study author and Stanford University medical professor Mark Genovese said. “It is important for patients and physicians to have treatment options when managing RA.”

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