PHARMACY

Mylan to challenge court decision over generic asthma, COPD drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Generic drug maker Mylan plans to challenge a court decision that requires it to pay almost $20 million to a drug company whose product it tried to market as a generic.

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals sued Mylan and several subsidiaries in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware when the latter sought to market a generic version of Sunovion’s Xopenex (levalbuterol hydrochloride) inhalation solution, a drug for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The jury’s verdict includes an $18 million award.

"While this is not a significant product for Mylan, we firmly believe that the jury has erred and intend to seek reversal through post-trial motions and, if necessary, an appeal of the verdict and the damages award," Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said.


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PHARMACY

Kerr Drug encourages patients to talk to their pharmacists

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. — Kerr Drug is launching a new campaign to get people to talk to their pharmacists, the chain announced.

Kerr said it would launch the "Just Ask" marketing campaign in stores and across various marketing channels to encourage its pharmacists and patients to talk to each other about prescriptions, conditions, health practices and overall health.

"I know from working as a pharmacist that there are many reasons people don’t ask about their medicines, including confusion, embarrassment or the patient just not wanting to bother the pharmacist," Kerr CEO Tony Civello said. "The ‘Just Ask’ campaign will encourage conversations and a sharing of information because it’s the best way to avoid poor health outcomes."

Kerr noted that surveys have shown 3-in-4 people don’t always take their medicines as directed, which can lead to serious health consequences, higher medical costs and longer recovery times. Kerr’s campaign will focus on 11 conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and specific questions a patient might have, such as a medication’s name and what it does; when and how to take it; how patients can save money with generics or other changes; side effects; interactions between medications and other medications, foods and alcohol; what happens when a dose is missed; and how long a patient has to take a medicine.

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FDA grants priority review to Gilead’s Truvada for HIV prevention

BY Alaric DeArment

FOSTER CITY, Calif. — The Food and Drug Administration is giving priority review to a drug made by Gilead Sciences that the company is investigating for the prevention of HIV.

Gilead said the FDA gave the special designation to its application for Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, to reduce the risk of HIV infection. The FDA originally approved Truvada for treating HIV infection in 2004, and it is currently the most prescribed antiretroviral drug in the United States.

Gilead said that if approved, Truvada would be the first drug indicated for reducing the risk of acquiring HIV. The company’s regulatory filing, which it submitted on Dec. 15, is based on results of a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the University of Washington that supported the use of Truvada in reducing the risk of HIV infection.


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