PHARMACY

Wyeth reports mixed results for Q2

BY Alaric DeArment

MADISON, N.J. Drug maker Wyeth had mixed fortunes during second quarter 2009, according to a financial report released Thursday.

The company reported a 13% increase in diluted earnings per share, but also a 4% decrease to $5.7 billion in global net revenue, though global net revenue increased by 2% when excluding the adverse effects of foreign exchange rates.

Wyeth also reported mixed results for its top-selling products. Sales of the antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride) decreased by 25% for the quarter, though the children’s pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar (pneumococcal 7-valent conjugate vaccine [diphtheria CRM197 protein]) had a 13% sales increase, while the autoimmune disease drug Enbrel (etanercept) had a 7% increase in U.S. and Canadian sales.

“Wyeth’s results reflect the ongoing strength of our biotechnology and vaccine franchises Enbrel and Prevnar and our nutritionals products, all of which performed strongly around the world,” Wyeth CEO Bernard Poussot said in a statement. “Execution of our medical innovation strategy led to positive revenue growth in constant dollar terms.”

The company’s acquisition by Pfizer, announced earlier this year, received overwhelming support from Wyeth shareholders, the company said, with 98% of votes cast in favor. The acquisition is expected to close at the end of third quarter or during fourth quarter 2009.

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FDA approves two-in-one blood pressure drug

BY Alaric DeArment

EAST HANOVER, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a blood pressure pill that combines two drugs in one.

Novartis announced Tuesday that the FDA had approved Tekturna HCT (aliskiren and hydrochlorothiazide), which combines the existing treatment Tekturna with hydrochlorothiazide, a widely used diuretic.

The approval was based on a 2,700-patient clinical trial indicating that the combination of the two drugs reduced blood pressure more than either drug alone.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects nearly 74 million adults in the United States and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

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GPhA, generic drug companies release letter regarding biosimilars bill

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. An amendment to a health reform bill currently under consideration would preclude the development of a significant biosimilars industry, nearly 30 generic drug companies told three members of the House in a letter released Wednesday.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association released the letter — written to Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Nathan Deal, R-Ga. — signed by 27 generic drug makers criticizing the amendment to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s health reform bill by Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Joe Barton, R-Texas, that would allow 12 years of market exclusivity for biotech drugs before they faced biosimilar competition.

“While safeguarding market protections and intellectual property rights is critical in the pharmaceutical sector, only a healthcare system that balances the interests of innovation and access to lower cost medicine will achieve the greatest success,” the companies wrote in the letter.

Signatories to the letter included generics companies such as Teva, Ranbaxy and Mylan, as well as Paddock Labs, Sovereign Pharmaceuticals and Spear Pharmaceuticals.

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