PHARMACY

Mylan gets approval for generic version of Vfend

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Mylan has launched a generic drug for fungal infections, the company said Tuesday.

Mylan announced the launch, through subsidiary Mylan Pharmaceuticals, of voriconazole tablets in the 50-mg and 200-mg strengths. The drug is a triazole antifungal agent.

The tablets are a generic version of Pfizer’s Vfend, which had sales of $186 million in 2010, according to IMS Health. Mylan launched its version of the drug under a settlement with Pfizer.

Mylan was the first company successfully to file with the Food and Drug Administration for approval of generic voriconazole tablets and to include in its application a Paragraph IV certification — a legal assertion that the patents covering Vfend are invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed — thus entitling it to 180 days of market exclusivity in which to compete directly with the branded version.

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PHARMACY

NACDS: Pharmacy services provide effective, bipartisan solutions

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Upon the unveiling of President Obama’s budget proposal, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson said the budget proposal serves as yet another opportunity to highlight the "important role of pharmacy services as a bipartisan solution to an ongoing challenge: reducing healthcare costs while improving people’s lives, particularly in the treatment of chronic conditions."

"Pharmacy services provide effective and bipartisan solutions for many of the challenges that continue to face healthcare delivery in this nation, and for many of the questions that seem to arise every year when budgetary concerns emerge front and center," Anderson added. "NACDS is analyzing the specific provisions included in this year’s budget proposal, and looks forward to continuing to work on a bipartisan basis for the good of pharmacy patient care."

Anderson noted that the New England Healthcare Institute estimated that $290 billion is spent each year due to medication nonadherence. This amount — which accounts for 13% of all healthcare expenditures — includes preventable and more expensive forms of care, such as physician appointments and emergency room visits.

"The education of pharmacists equips them to help boost medication adherence, the medical term for staying on the correct medication therapy. One way to accomplish this is medication therapy management, which involves methodical strategies to help patients succeed in this important pursuit," Anderson stated. "To advance this important strategy, NACDS urges Congress to advance S. 274, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act."

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Watson’s global generics business sees boost

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Watson’s global generics business drove the drug maker’s net revenue in the fourth quarter, according to a financial earnings release.

Watson said that while its overall net revenue increased 21% to nearly $953 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2010, compared with the year-ago period, its global generics business realized a 38% gain to $646 million, thanks to the addition of Watson’s international business and new products, including metoprolol succinate extended-release, Zarah and diltiazem extended-release. For the full year, net revenue for the generics segment rose 40% to $2.34 billion, which was attributed to increased sales of extended-release products, the launch of new products and the addition of product sales from international markets.

Watson did report, however, that its global brands segment experienced losses due to the loss of Ferrlecit, a drug designed to treat iron deficiency anemia — although the losses were offset partially by increased sales of Rapaflo, Gelnique, Androderm and the addition of Crinone. Net revenue for the quarter and full year totaled $103.3 million (down about 15%) and $397.8 million (a near 14% decrease), respectively.

For the full year, Watson said its net revenue increased 28% to $3.6 billion, compared to net revenue of $2.8 billion for full year 2009.

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