PHARMACY

New specialty pharmacy practice model set for January groundbreaking in Alabama

BY Jim Frederick

AUBURN, Ala. Two pharmacy professors from Auburn University and one of the school’s alumni are designing a model pharmacy to help community pharmacy operators prepare, dispense and administer highly specialized drug therapies typically administered only in hospitals.

Leading the effort are Auburn pharmacy professors Kenneth Barker and Betsy Flynn, along with Auburn pharmacy graduate Johnny Bell, founder and owner of Vital Care, an operator and franchisor of clinical pharmacy and home-infusion service providers based in Meridian, Miss.

Groundbreaking on the new center is set for January. When it opens late next year or in early 2009, its pharmacy staff will administer complex drug therapies for patients with special needs, including potent intravenous antibiotics, chemotherapy, cardiac medications and intravenous nutritional formulas. The 13,000-square-foot, two-story center will house a sterile preparation area, compounding area and a specialty pharmacy area for limited-distribution medicines, such as those used in clinical trials. The building will also include four private suites—complete with Internet access, a musical library and TV—for patients who need to receive treatments on site at the center, rather than at home, according to the designers.

“With Auburn’s help, we are building the model facility to show pharmacists how they can provide this much-needed service, especially in rural areas,” said Bell, a 1970 Auburn pharmacy graduate and former president of the school’s Pharmacy Alumni Association. “We combined our knowledge of high-technology therapies and infusion pharmacy operations with the design and ergonomics knowledge of the AU design team.”

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Teva’s generic Trileptal

BY Drew Buono

The Food and Drug Administration has granted final approval to Teva for its application to market a generic version of Trileptal, by Novartis, for the treatment of epilepsy.

The generic, oxcarbazepine, will be available in 150, 300 and 600 mg tablets. Teva will begin shipping the drug in the near future.

Teva is currently involved in patent litigation concerning this product in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. A trial date has not been set.

The brand product had annual sales of approximately $690 million in the United States for the twelve months ended Sept. 30, 2007, based on IMS sales data.

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Biogen’s lack of buyer interest triggers stock price dive

BY Drew Buono

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Biogen has reported that after two months of looking for a potential buyer, it has turned up no serious offers, which led to a 27 percent drop in the company’s shares, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Biogen said in a statement that it “did not receive any definitive offers to purchase the company” and would abandon exploration of a sale. Within a few minutes of the announcement, Biogen lost nine months of increasing business by buyout rumors.

Pharmaceutical firms may have been discouraged by Biogen’s high price—its market value had grown to $25 billion after the company announced its intention to sell. Last month, Sanofi-Aventis’ chief executive called Biogen’s price “a little high.”

Biogen has three main drugs on the market—Avonex and Tysabri for multiple sclerosis and Rituxan for cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Some analysts said uncertainties about the future of the drugs were too great for buyers. Tysabri has been linked to a rare brain disorder, prompting close regulatory scrutiny.

The stock price fell from $75.88 to $55.50 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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