PHARMACY

Sandoz launches generic Augmentin XR

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. Sandoz has launched a generic antibiotic for pneumonia and acute sinus infections, the generics arm of Swiss drug maker Novartis said Tuesday.

Sandoz said it launched amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium extended-release tablets, a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s Augmentin XR, in the 1,000-mg/62.5-mg strengths. The tablets are used to treat community-acquired pneumonia and acute bacterial sinusitis. Sandoz said it was the first company to file a regulatory approval application for the drug with the Food and Drug Administration, entitling it to six months’ market exclusivity.

Augmentin XR had sales of $53 million during the 12-month period ending in January, according to IMS Health.

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PHARMACY

Copaxone sales raise Teva’s Q1 profit

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM Teva Pharmaceutical Industries had net sales of $3.7 billion in first quarter 2010, a 16% increase over the same period in 2009, the world’s largest generic drug maker said Tuesday. Those sales produced profits of $830 million for the quarter, a 31% more than in first quarter 2009.

“2010 is off to a great start for Teva, with strong operational results and cash flow,” president and CEO Shlomo Yanai said. “We continued our strong growth momentum in the first quarter, driven by contributions from across our many businesses and geographies, and we are looking forward to another year of continuous growth.”

The growth in sales and profits came amid record global $796 million sales of the multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate), a 28% increase over first quarter 2009. Teva said the drug continues to be the leading therapy for MS in the United States and globally. Sales in North America were $2.3 billion, a 20% increase over first quarter 2009 that resulted from launches of generic versions of drugs such as Mirapex (pramipexole) and sales of generic versions of Adderall XR (mixed amphetamine salts), Pulmicort Respules (budesonide) and others.

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Walgreens taps clinician for new medical post

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Signaling its expanding role in the broader healthcare arena, Walgreens on Tuesday named Cheryl Pegus, a physician and clinical practice veteran, to the new position of chief medical officer.

Pegus, 46, will serve as the senior medical executive for Walgreens and report to Hal Rosenbluth, SVP and president of the company’s health and wellness division. Her focus, according to Walgreens, will be on “driving clinical outcomes that improve patient lives, provide value and offer a platform for future innovation and growth.”

The creation of a new medical post underscores Walgreens’ determination to serve as a full-service solution for the health coverage needs of employers and other health-plan payers. It’s also a sign of the increasing integration of the healthcare model being pursued by Walgreens and other such pharmacy innovators as CVS Caremark, Kerr Drug and other chains.

“We’re very excited to appoint Cheryl to lead Walgreens’ effort in clinical outcomes,” said Rosenbluth. “Her depth of experience in analytics and research, clinical product development and chronic-care management will help position Walgreens to deliver high quality, accessible and low-cost innovative care solutions to payors, employers and consumers.

“That includes the potential for new diagnostic screenings and other point-of-care services at pharmacies, retail clinics and worksite health centers that can develop an ongoing relationship between patients and Walgreens,” he added.

Pegus has more than 18 years of clinical practice and industry experience. Her last post was as general manager and chief medical officer for SymCare Personalized Health Solutions, which provides care management services utilizing remote monitoring. SymCare’s model is “designed to control health care spending by making consumer engagement simpler and more rewarding,” according to Walgreens.

Prior to joining SymCare in 2007, Pegus was head of clinical products for Aetna’s Medical Products business unit, responsible for developing, prioritizing and articulating the company’s clinical product strategy. Between 1996 and 2001, she was medical director for the Cardiovascular Risk Factors Group at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in New York. She is a member of the board of directors of the Founder’s Affiliate of the American Heart Association, the dean’s circle at Weill Cornell Medical College and the editorial advisory board of Disease Management Advisor.

Pegus is a board-certified physician with subspecialty training in cardiology. She received an M.P.H. from Columbia University School of Public Health, an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College and completed her internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at New York Hospital-Cornell.

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