PHARMACY

Specialty pharmacy group urges regulators to oppose ESI-Medco acquisition

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The ink has barely dried on the acquisition agreement between pharmacy benefit management giants Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, but several groups already are seeing smudges — most recently, a trade organization representing independent specialty pharmacy providers.

On Monday, the Independent Specialty Pharmacy Coalition urged the Federal Trade Commission to block Express Scripts’ $29.1 billion acquisition of Medco, saying the two PBMs’ large specialty pharmacy businesses would create a "clear conflict of interest with their drug authorization duties as a pharmacy benefit manager." The ISPC said they had not lowered drug costs as a result of controlling specialty pharmacies, but instead used their control of them to prevent customers from using the pharmacies of their choosing.

"Allowing any PBM to acquire a dominant position in the specialty drug market will be a giant step backward in our nation’s efforts to improve health care and manage drug costs," ISPC executive director Russell Gay said. "This proposed deal poses tremendous risk to all consumers, especially those dependent on vital specialty drugs."

The ISPC’s statement follows a joint statement on July 21 by the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores that the Medco-ESI deal would "exacerbate PBMs’ detrimental effect on pharmacy patient care" and that it would create "a middle man that is too big to play fair and will have immense power to unfairly dominate the market."

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PHARMACY

Federal court upholds Lilly patent

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal court has upheld Eli Lilly’s patent covering a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Lilly said Friday.

Lilly said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey that had invalidated Lilly’s patent for Strattera (atomoxetine) in a patent infringement case that Lilly had filed against generic drug maker Actavis, when the latter sought regulatory approval for a generic version of Strattera.

"We are pleased with today’s ruling from the Court of Appeals regarding Strattera’s method-of-use patent and remain confident that the patent is valid and enforceable," Lilly SVP and general counsel Robert Armitage said. "In overturning the prior district court ruling, we believe that the court fairly applied long-standing patent law principles."

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Lilly, Lupin enter diabetes partnership

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW DELHI — Eli Lilly’s India division and Indian generic drug maker Lupin will distribute Lilly’s insulin products in India and Nepal under an agreement between the two companies announced Friday.

Under the collaboration, Lilly and Lupin will promote and distribute Huminsulin R, Huminsulin NPH, Huminsulin 50/50, Huminsulin 30/70 and Humapen Ergo II. The companies said the deal would double the current customer base.

India currently has about 51 million people living with diabetes and is expected to have 85 million by 2030, accounting for nearly one-fifth of all patients with the disease.

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