HEALTH

Plan B lawsuit against Barr and FDA dismissed

BY Adam Kraemer

WASHINGTON The lawsuit against Barr Pharmaceuticals and the Food and Drug Administration concerning over-the-counter sales of the Plan B contraceptive was dismissed by a federal judge on Tuesday, according to published reports.

A number of groups including the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons had brought the lawsuit in an attempt to discontinue sales to adults without a prescription. Plan B (Levonorgestrel) was originally approved by the FDA in 1999 and the decision to afford the drug OTC status came in 2006. Barr paid $20 million for the drug and its maker, Women’s Capital, in 2004.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted the motion to dismiss the suit—which claimed the drug was not proven safe without a prescription—saying the plaintiffs had failed “to identify a single individual who has been harmed by Plan B’s OTC availability,” Reuters reported.

Barr reported that Plan B sales had contributed to its 12 percent increase in overall drug sales last year.

The AAPS said it was reviewing the ruling and had yet to decide whether to appeal.

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Lil’ Drug Store acquires Wellgate

BY Michael Johnsen

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Lil’ Drug Store Products on Monday announced its acquisition of Wellgate Products, a marketer of orthopedic braces and supports designed exclusively for women.

“Lil’ Drug Store leads the way in creating and marketing products for women to help raise their quality of life and to target their specific health needs,” stated Chris DeWolf, president and chief executive officer of Lil’ Drug Store Products. “Similarly, Wellgate Products is a company with a mission and focus that directly addresses the challenge of critical orthopedic care for women who have different needs and body types than men.”

Wellgate’s design process takes into account the unique shape of women’s bodies, the specific types of orthopedic problems women have and a sense of style. “I am confident in Lil’ Drug Store’s ability to take the already successful Wellgate brand to the next level,” noted Sam Braunstein, founder of Wellgate. She emphasized that, “strategically, Lil’ Drug Store’s expertise in growing women’s healthcare brands makes this a great match.”

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Study finds folic acid use beneficial before pregnancy

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS A study presented during the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine meeting last week found that women who take folic acid supplements for at least a year before becoming pregnant can greatly reduce their risk of delivering a baby prematurely, Reuters reported Thursday.

The study tracked about 35,000 pregnant women between 1999 and 2002 who disclosed their folic acid intake and found that women who took folic acid supplements for at least a year before pregnancy cut their chances for very early pre-term births, defined as births between 20 and 28 weeks into the pregnancy, by 70 percent compared with other women.

Women taking folic acid for at least a year before getting pregnant also saw their risk fall by about 50 percent for premature births occurring 28 to 32 weeks into the pregnancy.

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