PHARMACY

Watson to become commercial partner for emergency contraceptive

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Watson Pharmaceuticals and HRA Pharma have signed a deal whereby Watson will become the commercial partner for an emergency contraceptive undergoing regulatory review by the Food and Drug Administration, Watson announced Monday.

Watson and HRA signed the agreement for ulipristal acetate, also known as UPA, which HRA has marketed in Europe under the EllaOne brand since October 2009. According to data published in a recent issue of medical journal The Lancet comparing the drug with levonorgestrel in 1,696 women in the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom, UPA provides emergency contraception effectively for up to five days after unprotected sex. Duramed Pharmaceuticals markets levonorgestrel under the Plan B brand, and Watson markets a generic version.

Under the terms of the agreement, Watson will make milestone payments to HRA and royalties on U.S. sales while taking responsibility for commercialization and marketing expenses.

“The opportunity to collaborate with HRA Pharma on the U.S. commercialization of UPA fits nicely within our broader strategy to expand our emerging position in women’s health care and to provide women with a vast array of safe, effective treatment options in contraception as well as other important therapeutic areas,” Watson EVP global brands Fred Wilkinson said. “The published clinical results are significant, and we are optimistic about the prospects of providing U.S. women with a new emergency contraceptive option.”

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Lupin receives FDA approval for hypertension generic

BY Alaric DeArment

BALTIMORE The Food and Drug Administration has given approval to a generic version of a drug used to treat high blood pressure made by an Indian drug maker.

Lupin Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday that it had received approval for perindopril erbumine tablets, used to treat essential hypertension and management of coronary artery disease.

The drug is a generic version of Solvay Pharmaceuticals’ Aceon, which had sales of $24 million during the 12-month period ending in September 2009, according to IMS Health.

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Loose ends should be tied to make e-prescribing a reality

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Relative to the national chains, independent pharmacies have limited resources and, given the importance and benefit of e-prescribing, further helping to facilitate the adoption of e-prescribing via grants — not to mention facilitating two-way communication between prescribers and pharmacists — is critical to help push overall adoption closer to the finish line.

THE NEWS: (NCPA: E-prescribing should be more efficient in two-way communication, cost. For the full story, click here)

As stated in the article, the National Community Pharmacists Association, at a recent e-prescribing committee, recommended providing grants to offset implementation and transaction fee costs and making two-way communication between prescribers and pharmacists easier.

In written testimony at a hearing of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Information Technology Policy Committee Information Exchange Workgroup, the NCPA acknowledged that community pharmacists have a vested interest in making e-prescribing work but yet cost challenges remain.

E-prescribing has been praised ­especially in recent years ­ as it has been shown to increase the likelihood that patients will get their prescriptions filled and, in turn, avoid more expensive medical procedures. There’s also less of a chance for errors compared with paper prescriptions.

E-prescribing has achieved impressive milestones in recent years but the journey is far from over. In October 2009, e-prescribing network provider Surescripts announced that 23% of all office-based physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the United States are now e-prescribing. At that rate, Surescripts projected that its total number of active e-prescribers in 2009 would more than double the 74,000 active e-prescribers at the end of 2008.

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