PHARMACY

Novo Nordisk, undaunted by Exubera’s performance, continues developing AERx

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA Novo Nordisk will not let Pfizer’s halt to manufacturing inhaled insulin product Exubera stop it from continuing to develop a new inhaled insulin drug called AERx, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

The drug is now in late-stage patient studies and if all goes well, the company expects to launch the product in 2010 or 2011. Novo Nordisk also realizes that the drug will not be as big of a seller as Pfizer had expected Exubera would be; Pfizer expected annual sales of $2 billion for the drug.

Novo Nordisk will also look to aim at certain populations for this drug, such as the elderly and women who have pregnancy-related diabetes. The company is also concerned at long-term uses of the drug, as it may cause lung problems.

Martin Soeters, president of Novo Nordisk’s U.S. unit, said that studies of AERx so far have been “clean” from a safety standpoint.

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Mass. court levies combined $13.6 million against AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb

BY Drew Buono

BOSTON A federal court in Massachusetts entered $12.9 million in damages against AstraZeneca and $695,594 against Bristol-Myers Squibb for the state’s class action members in a suit related to marketing the spread of certain drugs, according to law firms.

The judge, Patti B. Saris, found that AstraZeneca marketed the spread on its Zoladex drug, which is used to treat prostate cancer, selling it based on its profitability to doctors’ offices. She also found that less than 10 percent of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s sales were made within 5 percent of its list price, according to DowJones.

AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb intend to appeal the ruling, which covers Massachusetts’s class-action participants.

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Eli Lilly’s depression care program receives certification

BY Drew Buono

INDIANAPOLIS Eli Lilly has received Program Design Certification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance for its Tools that Empower Depression Care Management Program.

Tools that Empower Depression Care Management Program is designed for managed care organizations to assist in further driving the standard of patient care around major depressive disorder. It helps identify members with major depressive disorder and offers educational resources to support treatment.

“Tools that Empower is part of Lilly’s commitment to our customers to help reduce patient risk and create an environment of continuous improvement for patient care,” said Jack Bailey, vice president, Lilly’s Business to Business division. “The NCQA certification validates the helpful tools provided by the program.”

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