PHARMACY

Amgen to release phase 3 trial results of three drugs in second half of 2009

BY Alaric DeArment

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. Amgen plans to release data from five phase 3 trials of three new drugs in the second half of this year.

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, the company said it would release results of two trials of the cancer drug Vectibix (panitumumab), two trials of the cancer drug denosumab and a trial to determine the effect of treating anemia with Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) on mortality and cardiovascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes not on dialysis.

The conference call included background information about the trials from Amgen chief medical officer and head of global development Sean Harper; VP global development, hematology and oncology Roy Baynes; VP global oncology development and oncology therapeutics David Chang; and executive medical director for global development and nephrology Preston Klassen.

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PHARMACY

Covidien enters a license, development collaboration with Nuvo Research

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS A healthcare products company hopes to expand its entry into the branded painkiller market through a new deal with a Canadian drug development company.

Covidien announced that it had entered a license and development collaboration with Mississauga, Ontario-based Nuvo Research, which develops transdermal and topical drugs. The collaboration includes a topical painkiller that combines the nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac sodium with the transdermal carrier dimethyl sulfoxide.

Covidien said that Nuvo would receive an upfront payment – which Covidien would expense in its fiscal third quarter – development and sales milestone payments and royalties.

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APhA ‘stands ready’ for reformed healthcare system

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON An organization representing the country’s pharmacists heralded comments by President Barack Obama before the American Medical Association Monday that mentioned members of the profession as playing a role in healthcare reform.

Pharmacists “stand ready” to be part of a reformed healthcare system, the American Pharmacists Association said in response.

The APhA said that evidence increasingly indicates pharmacists help keep healthcare costs in check through such services as medication therapy management, which includes educating patients on how to take prescription drugs properly and safely, and health screenings and immunizations.

“We need to build on the examples of outstanding medicine at places like the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where the quality of care for cystic fibrosis patients shot up after the hospital began incorporating suggestions from parents,” Obama said in his remarks before the AMA’s annual conference in Chicago. “And places like Tallahassee Memorial Health Care, where deaths were dramatically reduced with rapid response teams that monitored patients’ conditions and ‘multidisciplinary rounds’ with everyone from physicians to pharmacists.”

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