PHARMACY

Wockhardt gets green light for three products

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India — Wockhardt has launched three new drugs in the United States over the last three weeks, the Indian generic drug maker said.

Wockhardt announced the Food and Drug Administration’s approval and the launch of the company’s antibacterial drug levofloxacin, a generic version of Johnson & Johnson’s Levaquin, in the 250-mg, 500-mg and 750-mg strengths.

On May 31, the company launched donepezil tablets, a generic version of Eisai’s Alzheimer’s disease drug Aricept. On June 1, it launched venlafaxine extended-release capsules, a generic version of Pfizer’s antidepressant Effexor XR.

Branded versions of the three drugs have combined sales of $6 billion, according to IMS Health.

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AstraZeneca sells off Astra Tech to Dentsply

BY Allison Cerra

WILMINGTON, Del. — AstraZeneca announced that it is selling its Astra Tech business to a professional dental products company in a cash transaction valued at about $1.8 billion.

Dentsply will acquire Mölndal, Sweden-based Astra Tech, which focuses on dental and healthcare products, services and support. In 2010, Astra Tech recorded worldwide revenue of $535 million.

AstraZeneca noted that the transaction is anticipated to be completed during the second half of 2011.

“Following a comprehensive strategic review, we believe this transaction represents an excellent outcome for AstraZeneca shareholders," AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan said. "The high degree of interest and the competitive nature of this process is evidence of the value that the employees of Astra Tech have built in the marketplace. I want to thank them for their contribution and believe they are well placed to build upon this successful foundation under Dentsply’s ownership.”

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Report: Walgreens CFO says company is ‘better’ without Express Scripts

BY Allison Cerra

NANTUCKET, Mass. — Walgreens CFO Wade Miquelon said that the chain’s decision to break its ties with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts was the best decision, according to a Reuters report.

Caling it a "principled stand," Miquelon, who spoke at the Jefferies 2011 Global Consumer Conference in Nantucket, Mass., on Thursday, said that "under any scenario of what Express Scripts is proposing … it’s much better for us to go it alone," Reuters reported.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, Walgreens no longer will participate in the Express Scripts network beginning Jan. 1, 2012, citing unsuccessful renewal negotiations. Express Scripts processes approximately 90 million prescriptions that are expected to be filled by Walgreens in fiscal 2011, representing approximately $5.3 billion in annual sales.

Analysts have theorized that the issues will be settled.

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