HEALTH

Watson gets FDA approval for generic Yasmin

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic oral contraceptive made by Watson Pharmaceuticals, the drug maker said Tuesday.

 

Watson announced the FDA’s approval of Zarah (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol tablets) in the 3 mg/0.03 mg strength. The drug is a generic version of Bayer’s Yasmin.

 

 

Watson said it has started shipping the drug, though Bayer’s patent litigation suit against the company concerning the drug remains pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

 

 

Yasmin and generic versions had sales of around $97 million during the 12 months ended in June, according to IMS Health.

 

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Decision Resources: Market for Alzheimer’s disease drugs will expand

BY Alaric DeArment

BURLINGTON, Mass. Biotech drugs for treating Alzheimer’s disease will more than triple the size of the market in several key countries over the next decade, according to a new report by industry research company Decision Resources.

The report showed that bapineuzumab, made by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, and Eli Lilly’s solanezumab will drive the market for Alzheimer’s drugs from 2009’s $4.3 billion to $13.3 billion in 2019 in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Whereas most current Alzheimer’s drugs are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, or AChEIs, which treat the disease’s cognitive symptoms without modifying its course, the new drugs have the potential to slow the rate of neural degeneration and cognitive decline, according to the report. Still, sales of AChEIs will remain strong through the decade.

“Despite increased generic competition and the launch of more-expensive and potentially more-efficacious therapies, AChEI sales will be buoyed through 2019,” Decision Resources director Bethany Kiernan said. “This will be largely due to an overall market expansion driven by increases in the number of drug-treated patients but also, to a lesser extent, by the launch of new formulations of branded AChEIs.”

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NCPP: Preventative health services can save lives, money

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS Preventative health services, such as daily aspirin use, tobacco-cessation screening and alcohol-abuse screening potentially can save 2 million lives and nearly $4 billion annually, according to a new paper produced by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities.

 

The paper, “Greater Use Of Preventative Services In U.S. Health Care Could Save Lives At Little Or No Cost,” was published in the September issue of Health Affairs. Its authors analyzed the estimated cost of adopting a package of 20 proven preventative services against the savings that could be generated. They also estimated how much in healthcare costs would have been saved in a given year if 90% of the population had used those services. For 2006, the year selected, the savings were estimated at $3.7 billion.

 

 

“By quantifying the many lives saved and high cost-effectiveness of clinical preventative services, our study shows that prevention has really gone the extra mile, meeting a standard rarely met by health treatments,” stated Robert Gould, president and CEO for the Partnership for Prevention, the organization that established the NCPP. “The new healthcare law appropriately makes these services available for most Americans at lower or no cost, but cost reductions alone won’t get us there. We now need health purchasers, insurers and providers to make every effort to improve their delivery and educate the public about these life-saving preventative services.”

 

 

Most of the savings came from three services: tobacco-cessation screening and assistance, discussing daily aspirin use, and alcohol screening with brief counseling. The authors determined that those three services plus colorectal cancer screening each would have contributed more than 100,000 years of life if 90% of the population had participated.

 

 

“People talk about the importance of prevention, and this study shows that a significant number of recommended clinical preventative services saves lives and sometimes saves money,” said Eduardo Sanchez, chair of NCPP.

 

 

The full paper is available on the Partnership for Prevention website, Prevent.org.

 

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