PHARMACY

Mylan launches generic version of Baxter’s Mesnex

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Mylan has released a generic version of a drug used to treat a complication of certain chemotherapy regimens, the drug maker said Tuesday.

The company announced the launch of mesna injection in the 100-mg/mL and 1,000-mg/10-mL strengths. The drug is used to reduce the incidence of ifosfamide-induced hemorrhagic cystitis, a possible complication of ifosfamide chemotherapy.

The drug is a generic version of Baxter Healthcare’s Mesnex, which has experienced shortages recently. Various versions of the drug had sales of about $11.7 million in 2011, according to IMS Health.


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PHARMACY

Merck taps ‘American Idol’ judge Randy Jackson for Taking Diabetes to Heart program

BY Allison Cerra

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Drug maker Merck has introduced a new program that’s designed to provide resources and information to help patients with Type 2 diabetes commit to living a diabetes-friendly lifestyle.

The Taking Diabetes to Heart program was developed to help Type 2 diabetics understand that their condition can cause other serious health complications, including heart disease, which is a leading cause of death among people with Type 2 diabetes, Merck said. As part of the program, Merck has partnered with Grammy award-winning music producer and "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson to tour the country and educate patients about complications of Type 2 diabetes, as well as early and effective management of the ABCs of diabetes — A1C, or blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol — is a critical part of an effective treatment plan and can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

"Merck is committed to raising awareness of Type 2 diabetes and advancing patients’ understanding about how to help better manage the disease," said Mark Timney, president of global human health, U.S. market at Merck. "We’re thrilled to team up with Randy Jackson to help shed light on the connection between diabetes and heart disease."

For more information about Merck’s program, visit TakingDiabetestoHeart.com.


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PHARMACY

Forest buys rights to Bystolic from J&J

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Forest Labs has bought rights to a drug used for high blood pressure that it had marketed with a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, thus eliminating the need to pay future royalties.

Forest announced Monday that it had bought all U.S. and Canadian intellectual property related to Bystolic (nebivolol) for $357 million from Janssen Pharmaceutica NV on Friday.

"We are pleased with the success of Bystolic, and we look forward to the product’s continued growth," Forest chairman and CEO Howard Solomon said. "Though it is the only branded beta-blocker in the U.S. market, Bystolic now represents over 4% of this very large class, and it continues to grow."

Earlier last month, Forest and Janssen filed suit against several generic drug makers that had challenged a patent on Bystolic that expires in December 2021 by filing with the Food and Drug Administration for approval of their own versions of the drug.

The drug had sales of $391 million during the 12-month period ended in January, according to IMS Health.


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