PHARMACY

Senators look into Pfizer-PBM deal for Lipitor

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Pfizer’s efforts to protect the sales of its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor have attracted scrutiny from members of Congress, according to published reports.

The New York Times reported Thursday that three senators — Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; and Herb Kohl, D-Wis. — had asked Pfizer and five other companies to provide details of their agreements to prevent dispensing of generic versions of Lipitor (atorvastatin) and dispense only the branded version.

Ranbaxy Labs announced the launch of its generic version of Lipitor Wednesday night, following Watson Pharmaceuticals’ launch of an authorized generic version of the drug, following the expiration of Lipitor’s patent protection. Lipitor is the world’s highest-selling drug, with sales of $7.8 billion in the United States during the 12-month period ended in September, according to IMS Health.

The Times reported last month that Pfizer had made a deal with pharmacy benefit managers timed to coincide with Ranbaxy’s exclusivity period, whereby the PBMs would instruct pharmacies to fill prescriptions with branded Lipitor and then charge customers the same co-pay that they would for the generic version. The Times quoted critics of the deal as saying that while patients would be charged the lower co-pay, payers would still have to pay the full price.

Pfizer also made a deal with Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy to sell Lipitor directly to consumers through the mail at a reduced price.


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PHARMACY

CVS Caremark names Randy Falkenrath SVP specialty pharmacy

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has announced the appointment of Randy Falkenrath as SVP specialty pharmacy, with responsibility for the ongoing development of clinical programs and product management to support the company’s specialty pharmacy business.

Falkenrath brings more than 26 years of experience in the health plan, pharmaceutical and medical device industries to his new position at CVS Caremark. Over the past nine months, Falkenrath worked within the company’s specialty field operations group. Prior to joining CVS Caremark, Falkenrath was SVP specialty pharmacy and business development for UnitedHealthcare’s commercial pharmacy benefit management business. Previously, Falkenrath was a partner in the life sciences consulting division of Computer Sciences Corporation and also held leadership positions at Baxter International and Searle Pharmaceuticals.

"Specialty pharmacy is an important growth area for CVS Caremark over the next few years, and Randy Falkenrath’s in-depth experience and knowledge of the industry make him uniquely qualified to lead our specialty pharmacy business," stated Jon Roberts, EVP and COO for the CVS Caremark PBM business. "His expertise will enable us to continue to enhance our specialty pharmacy leadership and identify further opportunities for integration across the CVS Caremark enterprise so we can better help patients dealing with complex, debilitating diseases on their path to better health."


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Warner Chilcott sues Mylan, Famy Care over Generess Fe patent challenge

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Generic drug maker Mylan and a partnering company are challenging the patent on a contraceptive drug.

Mylan said Thursday that it and Famy Care had been sued by Warner Chilcott in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey following their filing of a regulatory approval application with the Food and Drug Administration for norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol chewable tablets and ferrous fumarate chewable tablets, a generic version of Warner Chilcott’s Generess Fe.

The application contains a paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that patents covering Generess Fe are invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed. Between its April 2011 launch and Sept. 30, Generess Fe had sales of $4.5 million, according to IMS Health.


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