PHARMACY

Pfizer inks deal with Santaris

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO — Pfizer will pay Danish biotech company Santaris Pharma $14 million for access to its development platform for RNA-based therapies, Pfizer said Tuesday.

The drug maker said the deal would expand on an existing one between Hoersholm, Denmark-based Santaris and Wyeth, which Pfizer acquired in 2009. Santaris could take in up to $600 million in milestone payments, as well as royalties on products developed under the collaboration.

Santaris’ locked nucleic acid, or LNA, platform is designed for the development of RNA-targeted drugs, which Pfizer said could fight diseases in ways that pharmaceuticals and even biotech drugs, such as monoclonal antibodies, cannot.

“The expansion of our collaboration with Santaris Pharma A/S demonstrates our strategic intention to partner with innovative biopharm/biotech companies to explore novel drug design technologies as a potential source for breakthrough therapeutics,” said Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer president for worldwide research and development.

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Mylan settles Medicaid reimbursement suit

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Generic drug maker Mylan has settled a lawsuit concerning Medicaid reimbursements with the federal government and the state of Texas, Mylan said Dec. 24.

Under the settlement, Mylan will pay $65 million.

Several state attorneys general filed lawsuits against Mylan and other drug companies in September 2003 over Medicaid reimbursements, alleging that the companies defrauded the programs by reporting average wholesale prices greater than the prices of their prescription drugs, thus causing the programs to make excessive payments to healthcare providers.

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APhA promotes medicine cabinet cleanout

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON — The oldest national organization of pharmacists is making a New Year’s push to encourage Americans to clear out their old and expired medicines.

To mark the change of the calendar, the American Pharmacists Association has launched a new public outreach effort to get the public to “make an annual medicine cabinet cleanout part of their New Year’s resolutions.” In line with that effort, the APhA said, pharmacists are recommending that patients use this time to properly dispose of all the unused and expired medications that accumulated over the previous year.

“A medicine cabinet cleanout is one of the smallest resolutions a person can make for [his or her] personal and family’s health,” APhA EVP and CEO Tom Menighan said. “It just takes a few simple steps to properly store and dispose of medications.”

The organization, founded in 1852, has issued a set of guidelines for Americans to follow when cleaning out their medicine cabinets. Among them:

  • Store medicines in a secured area that has low humidity, a stable temperature and adequate lighting;

  • Check the date on everything in the medicine cabinet and dispose of anything that has passed the expiration date. Properly dispose of anything not used in the past 12 months;

  • Properly dispose of any prescription medications no longer needed. Do not share prescription medications with others;

  • Properly dispose of medicines no longer in their original containers or those that no longer can be identified;

  • Properly dispose of medicines that have changed color, odor or taste;

  • Do not flush unused or expired medications and do not pour them down a sink or drain. Medications should be disposed of properly in the household trash or through the community’s medication disposal program, when available;

  • Before disposing of medications in the trash, pour them into a sealable plastic bag. If the medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), add water to dissolve it. Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag; and

  • Remove and destroy all identifying personal information on prescription labels from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.

The APhA also provided a Web address for patients and pharmacists who want to know more about medicines that should be flushed, at SMARxTDisposal.net.

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