Report: Drug stores may benefit from patent expiries
NEW YORK Patent expiries on blockbuster branded drugs could mean huge profits for some retail pharmacy chains, according to published reports.
Bloomberg quoted investors as saying that CVS and Walgreens could see at least a 20% increase in profits as drugs with more than $100 billion in sales, such as Pfizer’s Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) and Sanofi-Aventis’ and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate), face generic competition, particularly between 2011 and 2013.
Lipitor and Plavix were the first and third top-selling branded drugs in 2008, with respective U.S. sales of $7.8 billion and $4.9 billion, according to IMS Health.
CVS CFO Dave Denton reportedly said that it’s too early to make predictions because profits will be determined by pricing, and prices are unknown. “The generic pipeline is robust,” Denton said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The percentage boost is not something we have analyzed to that level of depth. Pricing is very competitive and we can?t know for sure what it will look like at that time.”
Echoing that sentiment, Wade Miquelon, Walgreens CFO, was quoted as saying, Generic drugs “will definitely help us, but to that magnitude, considering there are other things that play in, I would hesitate to give any guidance. There are lots of moving parts in this business and different people factor them in different ways.”
Artificial pancreas may benefit young Type 1 diabetes patients
LONDON Sleeping overnight with an artificial pancreas system benefits children and teenagers with Type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in the Feb. 5 issue of The Lancet.
The study, funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge in England, had participants aged 5 to 18 spend the night in a hospital using a combination of commercially available blood glucose sensors and insulin pumps controlled by a computer program that determined insulin dosage based on blood glucose levels.
The study found that the patients had targeted blood glucose levels for twice as long when they used the artificial pancreas system than when they used conventional therapy.
“These studies show that automated systems not only can help people manage diabetes by maintaining good control, they will also improve quality of life for the people with Type 1 diabetes and their families by lowering the risk of hypoglycemia,” University of Cambridge Institute of Metabolic Science researcher and lead study author Roman Hovorka said. “These results suggest that closed-loop devices may be able to significantly lower the patient’s risk of developing complications later in life by reducing or even overcoming the burden of hypoglycemia.”
FDA issues warning over safety of Tysabri use
ROCKVILLE, Md. Patients using a drug for treating multiple sclerosis may be at increased risk of developing a deadly brain infection, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday in a warning to healthcare professionals and patients.
The FDA said that 31 patients using the drug Tysabri (natalizumab), marketed by Elan Corp. and Biogen Idec, had developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, as of Jan. 21. The drug’s safety labeling has been updated to reflect the risk. Still, the agency said the benefits of the drug outweigh the potential risks.
PML is caused by the JC virus, a virus that occurs naturally in most adults but is kept in check by the body’s immune system. When the immune system becomes compromised due to diseases such as AIDS or the use of immune-suppressing drugs, the risk that the virus will multiply and cause irreversible and fatal damage to the brain increases.