PHARMACY

MedImmune announces an increase in FluMist production

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON MedImmune has decided, based on new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee, to manufacture 12 million doses of FluMist starting this fall.

According to published reports, the increase in Flumist production comes also from a unanimous vote from committee members of Center for Disease Control to strongly recommend that children from 6 months to the age of 18 get flu shots.

MedImmune is a subsidiary of Astra Zeneca, a company that has been experiencing obstacles in the past year. It has been battling the threat of expired drug patents and competition from generic companies, but the increased production of Flumist is a hopeful sign for the company. MedImmune experienced a 47 percent increase in revenue for sales of Flumist, a reported $53 million from $36 million.

Even though the increase in production would be a positive sign for the company, Medimmune is still one of the smaller companies in the flu prevention market. The CDC has produced 130 million doses of the flu vaccine, and other companies are planning to increase production as well, leaving MedImmune still trailing behind.

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Combo vaccine for kids linked to fever and seizures

BY Adam Kraemer

ATLANTA A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that children suffered higher rates of fever-related convulsions when they got a Merck combination vaccine instead of two separate shots, according to published reports.

Prior to the findings, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had stated a distinct preference for the ProQuad vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella as well as chickenpox. The committee’s argument was that it would be better to give children the fewest injections possible.

Now, however, the committee has withdrawn its preference for ProQuad, choosing not to exhibit any preference at all. “Safety, shortages, delivery issues—lots of reasons not to state such a strong preference,” said a committee member. ProQuad costs $124 per dose, about the same as the two other shots combined.

In the study of children ages 12 months through 23 months, the rate of seizures was twice as high in toddlers who got ProQuad, compared with those who got one shot for chickenpox and one for the three other diseases. Neither the convulsions, nor the fevers that engendered them resulted in any child deaths. Merck has conducted its own study with similar results: 1 occurrence in approximately 2,000 children.

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Procter & Gamble wins patent suit for Actonel

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The United States District Court of Delaware today ruled in favor of the Procter & Gamble Company in the patent infringement lawsuit filed by P&G against Teva Pharmaceuticals. The positive ruling protects P&G’s rights in the U.S. to exclusively market the osteoporosis therapy Actonel (risedronate sodium tablets).

P&G filed a patent infringement lawsuit in August against Teva to enforce P&G’s U.S. composition of matter patent for risedronate, the active ingredient in Actonel. Teva was seeking to market a generic version of Actonel in the United States under the assertion that the Actonel patent was not valid due to obviousness of the invention.

The court ruled today in favor of the patent. “We are pleased that the Court recognized and acknowledged the uniqueness of the risedronate molecule,” said Tom Finn, P&G president of global health care. “We are very proud of the extensive R&D efforts which brought Actonel to market, providing patients help that they need to manage their osteoporosis and prevent fractures.”

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