PHARMACY

Abbott reports increase in sales of Humira during Q1

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott Labs reported an almost 30% increase in sales for a drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis in a first quarter 2009 earnings release Wednesday.

Global sales of Humira (adalimumab) were more than $1 billion, a 16.7% increase over first quarter 2008, including the effect of currency exchange rates, which lowered the percentage figure by 11%.

Worldwide pharmaceutical operational sales, excluding an unfavorable 6.6% effect from exchange rates, increased by 0.9%. Meanwhile, decline in sales of the epilepsy drug Depakote (divalproex sodium) decreased global pharmaceutical sales growth by 6.1%. Depakote has numerous generic competitors in the delayed-release formulation.

“Our first-quarter results demonstrate again the value of a well-balanced and highly diverse portfolio of businesses capable of top-tier earnings performance even in the most difficult market conditions,” Abbott chairman and CEO Miles White said. “This quarter, our collective businesses delivered mid-teens earnings-per-share growth, including continued strong double-digit operational sales growth in global nutritionals, global vascular and international pharmaceuticals.”

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PHARMACY

Petrou tapped to become HHS chief of staff

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON A former aide of former Sen. Tom Daschle will become the new chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services, according to published reports.

Politico reported that Laura Petrou, who worked for the South Dakota Democrat for 20 years, will start the position this week.

Mark Childress has served in the position since January. Childress also previously worked for Daschle.

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Mylan announces new VP global business development

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH Generic drug maker Mylan announced Tuesday that it made an appointment to its executive leadership team.

Mylan appointed former Merrill Lynch investment banker Andrew Cuneo as VP global business development. The company said Cuneo is responsible for coordinating its global business development and strategic efforts.

“Drew brings a wealth of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare sectors,” Mylan vice chairman and CEO Robert Coury said in a statement. “His familiarity with our industry – and in particular with Mylan, given his and Merrill Lynch’s active role with the company during the past five years – makes him ideally suited to support the company’s continued growth.”

Most recently, Cuneo served as Merrill Lynch’s director in its global healthcare investment banking group. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology from Vanderbilt University.

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