PHARMACY

Pfizer discontinues inhalable insulin after disapponting sales results

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Pfizer has decided to stop producing its innovative insulin drug Exubera, after releasing third-quarter results that showed the drug was a market flop.

The company’s manufacturing site in Indiana has been shut down and 600 of the 750 workers at the site are now on paid leave until a decision is made on the future of the facility, which has already had over $300 million invested in it.

For the last couple of months, Pfizer has been hinting at their intentions to stop making the drug. The second-quarter results showed only $4 million in sales, and one of the device’s contract manufacturers had already announced it would cut 160 jobs as a result of the slow uptake of the drug.

With Pfizer pulling out of the non-injectable insulin market, Eli Lilly now has a chance to dominate the market with its new drug AIR Insulin, which is now in Phase III trials and is expected to be filed to the Food and Drug Administration for approval in 2009.

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PHARMACY

FDA supports Medicare rule on anemia drugs

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is agreeing with Medicare on restrictions for government payments for anemia drugs made by Amgen and Johnson & Johnson, according to Bloomberg.

Payment rules set by Medicare, are “generally consistent’’ with prescribing information for use of the drugs in cancer patients, the Food and Drug Administration said in a letter released today by Representatives Pete Stark and Henry Waxman.

Medicare said back in July that they would not pay for the drugs, Epogen, Aranesp, and Procrit used in cancer patients with hemoglobin levels exceeding 10 grams a deciliter. The companies are trying to convince Medicare that the drugs were safe to use up to 13 grams.

U.S. sales of Amgen’s Aranesp fell 19 percent in the second quarter after the FDA warned doctors to dispense the lowest doses possible to minimize heart risks. Sales of Johnson & Johnson’s Procrit fell 15 percent in the third quarter.

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My Clinic to open 12 clinics nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

HOUSTON Intrepid Holdings, founder of My Healthy Access, announced that subsidiary My Clinic company has opened twelve new retail clinic models in a national retail pharmacy chain, the company said Tuesday.

The first of these clinics, located in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio will provide care for non-threatening medical conditions, the company said. Certified nurse practitioners or physician assistants will provide care with physician oversight.

A leading provider of clinic, pharmacy and related healthcare services to the urban marketplace, Intrepid Holdings believes that these clinics will provide greater access to quality, convenient and affordable healthcare for non-emergency conditions such as pink eye, colds, and ear and eye infections.

“My Clinic offers patients access to a quality, convenient and affordable healthcare solution in their local community retail pharmacies that they trust and depend on for their prescription needs,” said Toney Means, president of Intrepid Holdings and chief executive officer the Clinic Group. “These patients now have the opportunity to receive quality, affordable and convenient medical care for non emergency episodic conditions in their local community pharmacy.”

Intrepid’s My Healthy Access currently operates clinics in select Wal-Mart supercenters in Houston.

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