PHARMACY

Reports: Indian Supreme Court strikes down leukemia drug patent

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A ruling by India’s high court means cheaper generic versions of a cancer drug will remain available in developing countries, according to published reports.

The New York Times reported that the Indian Supreme Court ruled drug companies there could keep making generic versions of Swiss drug maker Novartis’ leukemia medication Gleevec (imatinib). According to the Times, generic versions of Gleevec in India cost about $2,500 per year, compared with $70,000 per year for the branded version.

Still, the Times noted, the ruling is part of a larger debate between large drug companies and developing countries. Drug companies say they need to charge high prices to recoup the cost of innovation, while developing countries say they need to ensure access to medications by making cheaper generics easier to get.

The Indian Supreme Court ruled that the patent for Gleevec was invalid because the drug was not a true invention; under Indian law, only medicines discovered after 1995 can be patented, and the court reasoned that because Novartis had developed an earlier version of the drug in 1993, and the version on the market wasn’t sufficiently different from that version, other companies could make generic versions.


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PHARMACY

Rx Response reporting system gets name change

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW ORLEANS — A coalition of drug and pharmacy organizations formed to address patients’ medication needs during disasters is changing the name and Web address of its reporting system to make it easier to remember, the organization said Tuesday.

Rx Response announced Tuesday at the National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans that the Pharmacy Status Reporting Tool would change its name to Rx Open, accessible at RxOpen.org. The group was originally formed after Hurricane Katrina to ensure the continued flow of medicine to patients following disasters like hurricanes, terrorist attacks and pandemic influenza, and the PSRT was deployed in 11 states after the landfall of Hurricane Sandy.

"We are excited that our technology was able to make such an important difference for emergency managers and the citizens affected by Super Storm Sandy," Rx Response director Erin Mullen said. "To make this valuable resource even more accessible in future disasters, we’re excited to introduce Rx Open. We are confident that this easy-to-remember name and corresponding web address will help make it even easier to get medicine to patients in times of emergency."

The group also introduced Rx on the Run, its new name for the Downloadable Prescription Medication Wallet Card, an online tool that enables patients to enter information about prescriptions and contact information for medical providers and print the information on a wallet-sized card.

 

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Dr. Reddy’s appoints new chairman, COO

BY Alaric DeArment

HYDERABAD, India — Indian generic drug maker Dr. Reddy’s Labs has appointed G.V. Prasad as chairman of the company, Dr. Reddy’s said Tuesday.

Prasad is currently vice chairman and CEO and will continue as chairman and CEO.

Meanwhile, Satish Reddy has been appointed vice chairman in addition to his current role as managing director and COO.

 

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