PHARMACY

TriCor suit granted class-action status

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A judge for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware has given class-action status to a lawsuit that several drug stores filed against Abbott Labs and Fournier Industrie et Sante, according to the legal news Web site Law360.

The drug stores allege that the companies filed frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits to prevent a generic version of the anti-cholesterol drug TriCor from reaching the market.

The District of Columbia and 18 states filed a similar lawsuit, alleging that Abbott’s and Fournier’s actions forced their health plans to pay higher prices for TriCor, but the judge declined to give their suits class-action status.

The chains, which include CVS Pharmacy and Louisiana Wholesale Drug, argue that the two drug companies caused them to pay unnecessarily high prices that they had to pass on to consumers.

TriCor (fenofibrate) has annual sales of more than $1 billion, according to Abbott financial data.

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Survivors from 1918 influenza may hold key to current vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Researchers have found that survivors of the 1918 influenza pandemic still have antibodies providing resistance to one of the deadliest viruses in modern history, according to the Associated Press.

The researchers did tests on 32 survivors—all aged 92 to 102—and found that the antibodies remained in their bloodstreams. They also manipulated the antibodies into a vaccine and injected it into mice, which became immune to the virus themselves.

This is the longest that cells targeting specific pathogens have lasted in people, the author of the study said.

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FDA upholds decision not to approve PreMD’s skin cholesterol test

BY Alaric DeArment

TORONTO A decision by the Food and Drug Administration to not approve an expanded use for a skin cholesterol test caused maker PreMD’s shares to fall by more than 50 percent Monday, according to Reuters.

The FDA’s decision affirmed a ruling it made in January, in which it cited defects in the design and data analysis of a study used to support the expansion.

The company had tried to overturn the FDA’s initial ruling, which concluded that its clinical trial data were not sufficient to show that the test was “substantially equivalent” to approved cardiovascular risk tests.

The company’s shares were worth 14 Canadian cents Monday. Earlier in the day, they had fallen below 10 Canadian cents.

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