PHARMACY

Ranbaxy resumes production of cholesterol drug ingredients

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Drug maker Ranbaxy Labs has started producing the ingredients for a cholesterol drug while working with the Food and Drug Administration to fix manufacturing issues that led to the recall in November 2012 of several batches of the drug.

The Indian drug maker said it had initiated corrective and preventive actions, or CAPA, as it prepared to resume supplies of generic atorvastatin calcium tablets to the U.S. market. The drug is a generic version of Pfizer’s Lipitor, and Ranbaxy became the first company to market a generic version in November 2011.

The company voluntarily recalled more than three dozen lots of the drug in November 2012, including 500-pill bottles of the drug in the 10-mg, 20-mg and 40-mg strengths, though the recall did not affect the drug in the 80-mg strength. The recall was due to the possible presence of small glass particles in the drug, the company said.

 

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Reports: Elan not responding to acquisition offer from Royalty Pharma

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A privately owned drug maker in New York is offering $6.5 billion for Irish drug maker Elan, but hasn’t heard back from it, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported that Royalty Pharma’s $11-per-share offer for Elan represented a 4% premium over its closing price Friday. Royalty buys royalty interests in drug products that are in late-stage development or have already entered the market, but doesn’t develop or market drugs of its own, the AP reported.

Earlier this month, Elan announced that it would sell rights to the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri (natalizumab) to partnering company Biogen Idec for $3.25 billion plus royalties.

 

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RxAlly, Shenandoah University pharmacy school collaborate in pneumococcal vaccination study

BY Alaric DeArment

LEESBURG, Va. — A Virginia-based pharmacy school will collaborate with an alliance of more than 22,000 pharmacies around the country to find ways to promote and increase pneumococcal vaccinations among elderly and high-risk people.

RxAlly said it had formed a partnership with Shenandoah University’s Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy to collaborate on the program, funded by drug maker Pfizer. Raleigh, N.C.-based Kerr Drug, a member of RxAlly, will participate, along with pharmacy teachers, American Pharmacists Association immunization trainers, an accredited medical education company and an outcomes analytics company called RealCME. The study will focus on people 65 years and older and high-risk patients between 2 years and 64 years with co-morbid conditions. The study will be titled "Improving Patient Immunization Rates through Optimizing Pharmacy’s Role in Providing Immunization Services."

According to 2010 data from the National Health Interview Survey, pneumococcal vaccination rates among those 65 years and older was 59.7%, but 18.5% among high-risk adults ages 19 years to 64 years. In North Carolina, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, less than one-third of 10,205 patients surveyed received the vaccine.

"We couldn’t be more honored and excited to work with Shenandoah University on this important public health initiative," RxAlly CEO Bruce Roberts said. "Studies show the proven value of pharmacists in increasing immunization rates, and this will continue to create awareness of how pharmacy can and does play a major role in improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs in our communities."

The study’s objectives are to increase pneumococcal immunization rates among high-risk populations, improve the ability of pharmacists and pharmacy staff to identify candidates for receiving the pneumococcal vaccine, assist pharmacists and pharmacy staff in encouraging awareness of the importance of pneumococcal vaccine administration through direct patient interaction and work with pharmacists and pharmacy staff to increase opportunities to provide immunization-related clinical services.

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