PHARMACY

Lilly chief calls on industry, public policy to support innovation

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — Public policies to support medical innovation will help drug companies address diseases that devastate people’s lives, a drug company executive said at a summit Thursday.

Speaking at The Economist magazine’s 2011 Pharma Summit, Eli Lilly chairman, president and CEO John Lechleiter called for a new approach to research in such illnesses as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer. This included changing the way companies conduct research and public policies that promote an environment in which innovation can flourish.

“Our industry is taking too long,” Lechleiter said in his remarks. “We’re spending too much, and we’re producing far too little.”

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PHARMACY

Actavis OKed to market generic Protonix

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Actavis has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market a generic version of a popular gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment.

The generic drug maker said it would market pantoprazole sodium delayed-release tablets in the 20-mg and 40-mg strengths. The drug is the generic equivalent of Pfizer’s Protonix, which had U.S. sales of approximately $1.6 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2010, according to IMS Health.

Actavis said it would distribute the drug soon.

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Credit Suisse bullish on supermarket pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — This year’s upcoming $29 billion wave of margin-friendly generic pharmaceuticals will be as big a growth catalyst for supermarket pharmacies as it will be for their pureplay drug store cousins, Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly stated in a note published Thursday.

Conservative projection models place the generic impact at 3% to 5% accretive to 2012 earnings, he reported, given that the channel fills between 10% and 15% of all retail prescriptions.

“While it’s unclear if the benefit will flow to the bottom line, we note that it at least provides some operating cushion to this structurally challenged industry,” Kelly wrote. “We remain somewhat cautious on the group, although we continue to believe that investors can make money selectively trading the stocks.” Credit Suisse recommends Kroger but not Safeway or Supervalu.

At the crest of the generic wave will be Lipitor, a $7.5 billion blockbuster that should face generic atorvastatin competiton on Nov. 30. That quickly will be followed by Lexapro (escitalopram, $2.8 billion), Seroquel (quetiapine, $4.1 billion), Plavix (clopidogrel, $5.6 billion) and Singulair (montelukast, $3.7 billion).

“While the number of generic launches ease after 2012, the following few years should still be good by historical standards,” Kelly wrote. “We project that $18 billion and $14 billion in branded sales will convert to generic in 2013 and 2014, respectively.”

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