PHARMACY

Amneal to launch generic contraceptive

BY Alaric DeArment

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Generic drug maker Amneal Pharmaceuticals will launch its version of a contraceptive product at the beginning of January, the drug maker said.

Amneal said it would launch its version of 24 Fe (norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol tablets; ferrous fumarate tablets) in the 1 mg/20 mcg and 75 mg strength. As the first company to successfully file for Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug, Amneal’s product will have 180 days in which to compete exclusively against the branded version.

Loestrin 24 Fe had sales of $510.6 million during the 12-month period that ended in June 2013, according to IMS Health. The maker of branded Loestrin 24 Fe, Ireland-based Warner Chilcott, was acquired this year by Actavis.

 

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Salix Pharmaceuticals to buy Santarus

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. — Salix Pharmaceuticals will buy Santarus for $2.6 billion, the drug makers said.

Salix will acquire all outstanding common stock of Santarus for $32 in cash, representing an approximately 36% premium over the Wednesday closing price of the company. The acquisition is expected to close in first quarter 2014. Both companies specialize in gastrointestinal drugs.

"We are very pleased to be able to merge our sales forces, combine two complementary product portfolios, expand our pipeline, diversify revenue, access healthcare providers in primary care, add a significant number of healthcare prescribers to our called-on universe and to better position Salix for success in the present as well as the future," Salix president and CEO Carolyn Logan said. "Additionally, we look forward to all of our stakeholders — patients, healthcare providers, employees and stockholders — benefitting from the increased scale created by a larger, even stronger Salix."

 

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U.S. consumers more likely to prefer generics

BY Alaric DeArment

The United States is leading in its preference for generic drugs. According to a new report by Rhinebeck, N.Y.-based Phoenix Marketing International, 37% of American consumers expressed a preference for generic drugs when they were available, compared with 22% of the French, 21% of Canadians and 12% of Britons. The study was based on 810 consumers in the four countries.

While Americans were slightly more likely to say the quality of generics was lower than branded drugs — 14%, versus 11% in Canada and the United Kingdom — the French were far more likely to say so, with 29% saying branded drugs were of higher quality. Interestingly, despite concerns about quality, generic use in France was the highest among countries in the study — 73% of French respondents said they had taken a generic drug in the last two years versus 70% of Americans, 54% of Canadians and 36% of Britons.

However, some disparities exist in the use of generics in the United States, particularly among Medicare beneficiaries. According to a recent study by researchers at Dartmouth College, 26.3% of prescriptions in the United States were filled as branded drugs in 2010; in Manhattan, 36% of patients used generics, but the figure was only 16.5% for those in La Crosse, Wis.

Such figures are significant considering that according to a Generic Pharmaceutical Association study conducted by IMS Health, use of generic drugs saved the U.S. healthcare system $1 trillion between 2002 and 2011. About 83% of prescriptions filled in the United States are generic, according to IMS.

Eighty-three percent is also the rate at which patients accept independent pharmacists’ recommendations for generic drug use, according to figures published in the National Community Pharmacists Association’s 2013 NCPA Digest. Independents dispense generics 77% of the time, NCPA said.

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