PHARMACY

Watson files application for Lidoderm generic

BY Alaric DeArment

CHADDS FORD, Pa. Watson Pharmaceuticals has filed for regulatory approval of a generic version of a pain drug made by Endo Pharmaceuticals, Endo announced Tuesday.

Endo said it had received notice that Watson had filed an application for a generic version of Lidoderm (lidocaine), a topical patch used to treat pain related to postherpetic neuralgia.

While not specifying that it would file a patent infringement suit against Watson, which it can do under the terms of the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, Endo said it would “vigorously defend” its intellectual property rights. The patent for Lidoderm expires in October 2015, according to the Food and Drug Administration’s Orange Book database.

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Schnucks Pharmacies offering free prenatal vitamins to expectant mothers

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and a Midwestern supermarket pharmacy chain is giving expectant mothers free prenatal vitamins to mark the occasion.

Schnucks Pharmacies, part of the Schnuck Markets company, will begin offering free prescription prenatal vitamins to pregnant women at its 103 stores under its Health and Wellness Program beginning Monday, Schnucks announced.

“It’s a major investment for our company, but we feel a responsibility to help where we can,” Schnucks VP pharmacy Michael Juergensmeyer said in a statement. “Due to economic considerations, many patients don’t refill prescriptions for chronic conditions, let alone take prescription prenatal vitamins for wellness care. We share doctors’ concerns and recognize the need to make good prenatal care more affordable for all.”

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FDA commissioner Hamburg salutes healthcare professionals for H1N1 efforts

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. Healthcare professionals got a big “thank you” from the head of the Food and Drug Administration.

FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg sent a letter to healthcare professionals thanking them for their efforts during the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak.

“In November, I wrote to thank you for your efforts during the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak and to provide information about the development and FDA approval of the H1N1 vaccines,” Hamburg wrote. “I mentioned our continuing robust efforts to monitor the safety of these vaccines and now would like to reassure you that, to date, the safety assessment is very encouraging.”

As of Dec. 30, nearly 100 million vaccines have been distributed, with 94% of adverse side effects described as “non-serious,” such as soreness, according to a Jan. 8 statement by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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