PHARMACY

AHRQ, AARP release healthcare checklists for people over 50

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the American Association of Retired Persons have released checklists to help people older than 50 learn how to stay healthy, according to reports.

Checklists for Health are available for men and women in English and Spanish. They list recommendations by the Preventive Services Task Force regarding preventive medicines, healthy lifestyle choices and screening tests for people aged 50 and older.

The AHRQ and AARP also released a companion wall chart for pharmacies, doctor’s offices, senior centers and other areas.

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ImClone to pay $17.5 million to Abbott in Erbitux settlement

BY Drew Buono

BOSTON ImClone Systems, manufacturer of the cancer drug Erbitux, has agreed to pay Abbott Laboratories $17.5 million to end a patent-infringement lawsuit over the medicine, according to Bloomberg.

The companies said in an Aug. 4 notice to U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns in Boston that they had reached a “confidential settlement.” Stearns put the case on hold so the companies can finish the paperwork on the agreement.

Abbott sued ImClone last year, claiming its patented method for creating antibodies is infringed by Erbitux. In May, ImClone filed a lawsuit accusing Abbott of withholding information that could have been used by ImClone to defend itself against a patent suit by Repligen. ImClone paid $65 million to end that case.

“We have reached an agreement in principle that would conclude all outstanding litigation with ImClone,” said Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel.

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FDA warns about muscle damage from drug combo

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Combining some heart drugs could cause muscular damage, Reuters reported the Food and Drug Administration as warning.

The FDA said it had received reports of the muscle injury rhabdomyolysis, which can cause kidney failure or death, related to combining the cholesterol drug simvastatin and the arrythmia drug amiodarone. The agency issued a warning about the risks of combining the drugs in 2002.

All statin drugs have the risk of causing rhabdomyolysis, but the risk becomes greater when simvastatin is combined with amiodarone.

Simvastatin is the active ingredient in Merck’s Simcor and Abbott Laboratories’ Zocor, as well as an ingredient in Merck’s and Schering-Plough’s Vytorin. Amiodarone is the active ingredient in Wyeth’s Cordarone and Upsher-Smith’s Pacerone.

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