Mass. court levies combined $13.6 million against AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb
BOSTON A federal court in Massachusetts entered $12.9 million in damages against AstraZeneca and $695,594 against Bristol-Myers Squibb for the state’s class action members in a suit related to marketing the spread of certain drugs, according to law firms.
The judge, Patti B. Saris, found that AstraZeneca marketed the spread on its Zoladex drug, which is used to treat prostate cancer, selling it based on its profitability to doctors’ offices. She also found that less than 10 percent of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s sales were made within 5 percent of its list price, according to DowJones.
AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb intend to appeal the ruling, which covers Massachusetts’s class-action participants.
Heritage launches its formulation of the generic hydrochlorothiazide
EDISON, N.J. Heritage Pharmaceuticals has launched its new drug hydrochlorothiazide.
The drug is used as adjunctive therapy in edema associated with congestive heart failure, hepatic cirrhosis, and corticosteroid and estrogen therapy. The drug is also used in the management of hypertension.
The drug is available in 25 and 50 mg tablets in 100 and 1000 count bottles. Total annual market sales for Hydrochlorothiazide tablets in the U.S. were $30.8 million, according to March 2007 IMS data.
Bayer pulls clotting drug from worldwide market
FRANKFURT, Germany Bayer has stopped worldwide sales of its anti-bleeding drug after a clinical study revealed the drug poses a higher risk of death.
Trasylol (aprotinin), designed to stem blood loss and enable patients receiving heart bypass surgery to avoid the use of transfusions, was tested in a Canadian clinical study last month. Preliminary results from that trial also suggested Trasylol increased the risk of death when compared with the other drugs.
Additional tests, which would have compared the safety and effectiveness of Trasylol with two others was halted after the initial results surfaced.
Leverkusen-based Bayer said Monday that it made the decision after discussions with the Food and Drug Administration, the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medicine Products along with Health Canada.
Last week, the FDA said that evidence suggests Trasylol increased the risk of death compared with other drugs, and that the drug was blocking enzymes which dissolve blood clots, instead of aiding them. The agency began reevaluating the drug’s safety after the January 2006 publication of two studies that linked the drug’s use to serious side effects, including kidney problems, heart attacks and strokes.
The FDA approved the drug in 1993 to prevent the loss of blood and thwart the need for blood transfusions in surgeries to bypass clogged coronary arteries.
More recent studies have suggested the drug also raises the risk of death. One of those studies previously was withheld by Bayer from the FDA due to what a company investigation later characterized as a “regrettable human error.”
Bayer said it wanted to review the results from the Canadian trials before moving forward.
“Once the complete … dataset is available, Bayer will work with health authorities to evaluate whether these data have any impact on the positive benefit-risk assessment for Trasylol,” the company said in a statement. “At that time the temporary marketing suspension will be reevaluated.”
Shares of Bayer gained nearly 1.6 percent to €57.57 ($83.36) in Frankfurt.