PHARMACY

Statin users can save money if they adhere to therapies, Medco finds

BY Alaric DeArment

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. — In a year and a half, patients taking statins to lower their cholesterol can save more than $900 when they take their medications as prescribed, according to a new study in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

The study, conducted by pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions’ research subsidiary, the Medco Research Institute, found that patients who adhered to their therapies saved as much as $944 over 18 months because they experienced fewer cardiovascular problems leading to hospitalization.

The study was based on data from Medco’s pharmacy and medical claims for 381,000 patients ages 18 to 61 years who received statin therapy between January 2007 and June 2009. Patients who took their drugs 90% of the time had total healthcare costs of $10,162, compared with $11,106 for those who took them less than 60% of the time.

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PHARMACY

Sandoz launches Syeda

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic oral contraceptive made by Sandoz, the company said Wednesday.

Sandoz, the generics arm of Swiss drug maker Novartis, announced the launch of Syeda (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) tablets in the 3-mg/0.03-mg strength.

The drug is a generic version of Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals’ Yasmin. Yasmin and generic versions of the drug had sales of about $365 million during the 12-month period ended in April, according to IMS Health.

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Edison’s EPI-743 granted orphan drug designation

BY Alaric DeArment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The Food and Drug Administration has granted orphan drug designation to an investigational treatment made by Edison Pharmaceuticals for rare diseases, Edison said Wednesday.

The drug maker announced that the FDA had granted the designation to EPI-743, a drug for inherited mitochondrial respiratory chain diseases, which affect an estimated 60,000 people. The agency grants orphan drug designation to drugs for diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States, providing accelerated review of approval applications and market exclusivity periods of seven years, compared with the five years given to most drugs.

Inherited mitochondrial diseases cause defects in how cells make and regulate energy and can affect virtually any organ system in the body, causing such symptoms as central nervous system disorders, diabetes, heart failure, liver failure, deafness, blindness and others.

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