PHARMACY

AstraZeneca buys Spirogen for up to $440 million

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — AstraZeneca has acquired a British developer of biotech drugs for treating cancer, AstraZeneca said Tuesday.

The company said its MedImmune subsidiary had acquired privately held Spirogen and also entered into a collaboration with ADC Therapeutics to develop two of ADC’s antibody-drug conjugate programs, currently in pre-clinical development. MedImmune will make an equity investment in ADC, which has an existing licensing agreement with Spirogen.

Under the Spirogen deal, MedImmune will acquire all shares of Spirogen for $200 million upfront and up to $240 million in milestone payments. MedImmune will also pay $20 million for the equity investment in ADC, matched by Auven Therapeutics, which is the majority shareholder in ADC and Spirogen.

 

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PHARMACY

Actavis seeks approval for generic opioid-dependence drug

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN — Actavis is hoping to become the first to market a generic version of a drug used to treat patients who have become dependent on opioid drugs, triggering a lawsuit from the branded drug’s manufacturer.

The generic drug maker said it had filed a regulatory approval application with the Food and Drug Administration for buprenorphine hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride sublingual film in the 2-mg/0.5-mg and 8-mg/2-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Reckitt Benckiser’s Suboxone.

In response to the filing, Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary, and MonoSol Rx filed suit against Actavis last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, seeking to prevent Actavis from commercializing its product before the expiration of certain patents on Suboxone. According to FDA records, the patents covering Suboxone will expire in 2023 and 2030. Under the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, the lawsuit places a stay of final FDA approval on Actavis’ product for 30 months, or until a settlement is reached.

Suboxone had sales of about $1.2 billion during the 12-month period that ended in August, according to IMS Health.

 

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PHARMACY

CVS/pharmacy’s new system to help patients compare Medicare Part D plans

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy is offering its senior patients a new way to compare Medicare Part D prescription drug plans during the annual enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, the pharmacy retailer has announced.
 
All CVS/pharmacy locations nationwide will be able to create and print a Medicare Part D plan comparison in minutes for patients based on the current prescriptions they fill at CVS. In addition, patients who wish to conduct their plan comparison online or on the phone will receive their own personal code from CVS/pharmacy that they can enter at cvs.com/medicare or by calling CVS. Once entered, the personal code will automatically insert patients’ current prescriptions to provide a personalized plan comparison in minutes. 

Annual enrollment is the one time a year that most Medicare beneficiaries can review their current prescription coverage and enroll in a new plan for 2014 if they choose. Because Medicare Part D plans change every year and people’s prescription needs may also change, comparing Part D plans could save patients hundreds of dollars, the retailer stated.
 
"CVS/pharmacy’s new plan comparison system provides patients with convenient ways to learn how much money they could save by choosing a new Medicare Part D plan based on their own prescription usage," stated Papatya Tankut, VP pharmacy affairs at CVS/pharmacy. "While pharmacists cannot recommend any specific Medicare Part D plan, we can help patients understand their options based on their individual needs."

Information from a selection of Medicare Part D plans in the local area will be available at Health Insurance Information Centers in all 7,500 CVS/pharmacy locations. In addition to Medicare Part D information, the display also features information about local health plans participating in the insurance marketplace under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

CVS/pharmacy’s dedicated Medicare website also provides resources and information for Medicare beneficiaries, including access to the Medicare Plan Finder, tips on when to consider choosing a new plan and how to lower prescription costs and information to help Medicare Part B patients save money.

"CVS/pharmacy provides several ways to help Medicare Part B beneficiaries save money, too. For example, we accept all Medicare coverage for diabetes testing supplies, flu shots are available at all of our pharmacies at no cost to Part B patients, and we offer a wide range of durable medical equipment covered by Medicare Part B online at CVS.com," Tankut said. "By combining this with our resources for Medicare Part D beneficiaries, CVS/pharmacy is a comprehensive destination to help Medicare patients on their path to better health."

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