PHARMACY

Actavis OKed to market generic Protonix

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Actavis has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market a generic version of a popular gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment.

The generic drug maker said it would market pantoprazole sodium delayed-release tablets in the 20-mg and 40-mg strengths. The drug is the generic equivalent of Pfizer’s Protonix, which had U.S. sales of approximately $1.6 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2010, according to IMS Health.

Actavis said it would distribute the drug soon.

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Credit Suisse bullish on supermarket pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — This year’s upcoming $29 billion wave of margin-friendly generic pharmaceuticals will be as big a growth catalyst for supermarket pharmacies as it will be for their pureplay drug store cousins, Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly stated in a note published Thursday.

Conservative projection models place the generic impact at 3% to 5% accretive to 2012 earnings, he reported, given that the channel fills between 10% and 15% of all retail prescriptions.

“While it’s unclear if the benefit will flow to the bottom line, we note that it at least provides some operating cushion to this structurally challenged industry,” Kelly wrote. “We remain somewhat cautious on the group, although we continue to believe that investors can make money selectively trading the stocks.” Credit Suisse recommends Kroger but not Safeway or Supervalu.

At the crest of the generic wave will be Lipitor, a $7.5 billion blockbuster that should face generic atorvastatin competiton on Nov. 30. That quickly will be followed by Lexapro (escitalopram, $2.8 billion), Seroquel (quetiapine, $4.1 billion), Plavix (clopidogrel, $5.6 billion) and Singulair (montelukast, $3.7 billion).

“While the number of generic launches ease after 2012, the following few years should still be good by historical standards,” Kelly wrote. “We project that $18 billion and $14 billion in branded sales will convert to generic in 2013 and 2014, respectively.”

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Court: Watson’s generic OTC decongestant does not infringe on branded versions

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Over-the-counter generic versions of a line of products used to treat congestion do not infringe on the patents covering the branded versions, a federal court ruled Wednesday.

Watson Pharmaceuticals said the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that its versions of Reckitt Benckiser’s Mucinex (guaifenesin), Mucinex D (guaifenesin and dextromethorphan-hydrobromide) and Mucinex DM (guaifenesin and pseudoephedrine) do not infringe U.S. Patent No. 6,372,252. Watson still is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for its version.

Mucinex is used to loosen phlegm and clear the bronchial passageways. The product line had sales of about $500 million in 2010, according to IMS Health and SymphonyIRI.

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