PHARMACY

Watson launches authorized generic diabetes drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Watson Pharmaceuticals announced the launch of an authorized generic version of a drug used to lower blood glucose in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The generic drug maker launched metformin hydrochloride extended-release tablets, an authorized generic version of Fortamet, made by Shionogi. An authorized generic is a branded drug marketed under its generic name at a reduced price, usually through a third-party company acting under a collaborative agreement with the original branded manufacturer.

The launch of Watson’s product was timed to coincide with the relaunch of a generic version of Fortamet by Lupin. Lupin had received Food and Drug Administration approval for a generic version of the drug in April 2011 and launched it in September of the same year, but in December, Shionogi obtained an injunction that prevented further sales of Lupin’s product.

Fortamet had sales of $82 million during the 12-month period ended in February, according to IMS Health.


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AstraZeneca buys Ardea Biosciences for $1.26 billion

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO — Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca will buy a San Diego-based biotech company for $1.26 billion, the two said Monday.

Ardea Biosciences is currently developing the drug lesinurad, a drug currently in phase-3 studies for chronic management of hyperuricemia in patients with gout.

"This attractive phase-3 program is an excellent opportunity to leverage AstraZeneca’s global specialty and primary care sales and marketing capabilities," AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan said. "The Ardea team has done a great job developing lesinurad along with a promising next-generation gout program. These compounds have real potential to benefit patients."

The companies said AstraZeneca’s offer of $32 per share for Ardea represented a 54% premium over the price of the company’s stock on Friday.


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NACDS elects new 2012-2013 officers

BY Allison Cerra

PALM BEACH, Fla. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has elected new officers for the coming year.

For the 2012-2013 term, NACDS chairman Bob Loeffler, who also serves as chief administrative officer of H-E-B, will be succeeded by Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. Thrifty White Pharmacy president and CEO Bob Narveson was elected as vice chairman, while Rite Aid president and CEO John Standley was appointed as treasurer, as well as a member of NACDS’ executive committee. Wasson, Narveson and Standley will serve one-year terms.

NACDS also announced that its board of directors is expanding to include five additional members that will help develop the group’s policies and priorities: Anthony (A.J.) Caffentzis, general VP business management and retail of Good Neighbor Pharmacy; CVS Caremark EVP Mark Cosby; Meijer president Mark Murray; Navarro Discount Pharmacy CEO Juan Ortiz and Rexall Pharma Plus CEO Frank Scorpiniti.

The appointments were announced at the NACDS Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.

"We are pleased to welcome Greg Wasson as NACDS chairman of the board of directors," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. "Greg has demonstrated an incredible passion for conveying the value of community pharmacy during his service as a Board officer and chairman of the NACDS Political Action Committee. We look forward to working with him in his new role as chairman of the Board in the coming year."

In line with appointment of new members, NACDS welcomed Alliance Boots of the United Kingdom, Implozia Pharmacy Network of the Russian Federation and Sinopharm Group of China, which were represented for the first time at the NACDS Annual Meeting.

"Top-to-top business programming at the Annual Meeting is without equal, and is further illustrated by the attendance of these robust international companies," Anderson said. "We are pleased to welcome Alliance Boots, Implozia Pharmacy Network and Sinopharm Group to participate in this important industry event."

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