PHARMACY

Teva settles drug price inflation lawsuit

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has reached a settlement in a case alleging that governments had to pay inflated prices for its drugs, the world’s largest generic drug manufacturer announced Friday.

Teva is one of several drug companies named in lawsuits around the country related to drug price reporting by manufacturers in 15 states, generally alleging that drug prices that the companies reported caused governments to pay inflated reimbursements for drugs under Medicaid and other programs, though Teva denies the allegations.

The case in question was brought by Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys on behalf of the United States government and governments of Texas, Florida and California under federal and state False Claims Acts. Teva said it would set aside about $315 million, including the settlement and a reserve for the remaining drug pricing lawsuits.

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Artificial pancreas may benefit young Type 1 diabetes patients

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON Sleeping overnight with an artificial pancreas system benefits children and teenagers with Type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in the Feb. 5 issue of The Lancet.

The study, funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge in England, had participants aged 5 to 18 spend the night in a hospital using a combination of commercially available blood glucose sensors and insulin pumps controlled by a computer program that determined insulin dosage based on blood glucose levels.

The study found that the patients had targeted blood glucose levels for twice as long when they used the artificial pancreas system than when they used conventional therapy.

“These studies show that automated systems not only can help people manage diabetes by maintaining good control, they will also improve quality of life for the people with Type 1 diabetes and their families by lowering the risk of hypoglycemia,” University of Cambridge Institute of Metabolic Science researcher and lead study author Roman Hovorka said. “These results suggest that closed-loop devices may be able to significantly lower the patient’s risk of developing complications later in life by reducing or even overcoming the burden of hypoglycemia.”

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FDA issues warning over safety of Tysabri use

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Patients using a drug for treating multiple sclerosis may be at increased risk of developing a deadly brain infection, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday in a warning to healthcare professionals and patients.

The FDA said that 31 patients using the drug Tysabri (natalizumab), marketed by Elan Corp. and Biogen Idec, had developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, as of Jan. 21. The drug’s safety labeling has been updated to reflect the risk. Still, the agency said the benefits of the drug outweigh the potential risks.

PML is caused by the JC virus, a virus that occurs naturally in most adults but is kept in check by the body’s immune system. When the immune system becomes compromised due to diseases such as AIDS or the use of immune-suppressing drugs, the risk that the virus will multiply and cause irreversible and fatal damage to the brain increases.

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