PHARMACY

AstraZeneca to pay $500 million for off-label drug marketing

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON AstraZeneca will pay more than half a billion dollars to resolve claims that it marketed one of its drugs for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

The department said the Anglo-Swedish drug maker, which maintains its U.S. headquarters in Wilmington, Del., would pay $520 million amid allegations that it marketed the antipsychotic Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) for “off-label” uses, so-called because they are not included on the FDA’s product label. The drug is approved for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but the government alleges that between 2001 and 2006, AstraZeneca promoted the drug to doctors as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia, insomnia and other unapproved uses.

The government alleges that AstraZeneca caused false payment claims to be sent to federal health insurance programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and others.

Under the settlement, $301.9 million will go to the federal government from the civil settlement, while $218 million will go to Medicaid programs administered by states and the District of Columbia.

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Mylan begins marketing generic ADHD treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH Mylan has begun marketing a generic version of a drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the generic drug maker announced Monday.

Mylan’s methamphetamine hydrochloride tablets in the 5 mg strength are a generic version of Lundbeck’s Desoxyn and are the first generic version of that drug to gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Methamphetamine hydrochloride tablets had sales of $9.3 million in 2009, according to IMS Health.

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NACDS Foundation contributes $150,000 to Haiti relief efforts

BY Allison Cerra

PALM BEACH, Fla. The charitable arm of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has contributed $150,000 to assist Haiti relief efforts following the devastating earthquake that struck the island nation.

The NACDS Foundation’s contributions included $50,000 each to organizations that have been immersed in this important work since the January earthquake: Doctors Without Borders, AmeriCares, and Convoy of Hope. Among their areas of expertise, Doctors Without Borders focuses on healthcare delivery;  AmeriCares delivers much-needed medicines, medical supplies, water purification tablets, baby food and other resources; and Convoy of Hope provides meals, medical supplies and water filtration systems to places in need.

“Haiti has disappeared from the front pages of our newspapers, but it will take decades of work to restore the land of these proud people,” said NACDS Foundation chairman of the board and NACDS CEO Steve Anderson. “These contributions reflect the many, many steps that pharmacy chains and suppliers, and others across industries have made to assist Haiti at this time.”

Anderson announced the contributions during his remarks at the NACDS Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.

“The NACDS Foundation’s vision is to improve the health and wellness of the people in America, and the NACDS Foundation board of directors decided wisely to extend this vision globally amid the ongoing and tremendous need in Haiti,” said NACDS Foundation president Edith A. Rosato. “Our commitment to helping those in Haiti knows no bounds and we truly hope that this contribution will assist in the relief effort, and help maintain a focus on the long-term needs of the Haitian people.”

In addition to this contribution, the NACDS Foundation is matching dollar-for-dollar contributions of NACDS and NACDS Foundation staff members to Hope for Haiti, as part of the Green for Jeans program. Through this program, staff members make donations for the privilege of wearing jeans to work on Fridays.

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