PHARMACY

AstraZeneca reports jump in Q3 profit

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON Profits for AstraZeneca were up by 27% for third quarter 2009 compared with third quarter 2008, the Anglo-Swedish drug maker announced in an earnings report Thursday.

The company reported an operating profit of $3.2 billion, compared with $2.5 billion a year ago, boosted by a 10% increase in revenue during the same period, from $7.8 billion in third quarter 2008 to $8.2 billion this quarter.

The companies A-H1N1 influenza vaccine had $152 million in U.S. sales, accounting for 2% of global revenue growth when exchange rates were taken into account. The withdrawal of generic versions of the hypertension drug Toprol-XL (metoprolol succinate) helped that drug account for 3% of global revenue growth. The Food and Drug Administraiton and European Medicines Agency also approved Onglyza (saxagliptin) as a treatment for diabetes.

Still, the company had some disappointments, notably its withdrawal of the regulatory approval application for the lung cancer drug Zactima (vandetanib).

“Our strong business performance is driven by good operating execution bolstered by revenue upsides from Toprol-XL and H1N1 vaccine sales,” CEO David Brennan said in a statement.

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Cardinal Health Foundation, The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy join forces to prevent prescription medication abuse

BY Allison Cerra

DUBLIN, Ohio The Cardinal Health Foundation has awarded The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy a $100,000 grant to create education and outreach programs that empower pharmacists, colleges and universities to fight prescription medication abuse and misuse in their communities.

With help from the financial grant, The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy will develop educational materials to help pharmacists and pharmacy students educate their communities about the dangers of prescription medication abuse and misuse; how to safely store and dispose of prescription medications; how to identify signs and symptoms that someone they love may be abusing or misusing medications; and action steps they can take to prevent this issue in their homes and communities. According to a 2007 survey by the Ohio Department of Health, more than 25% of all Ohio high school students have reported using a prescription medication without a doctor’s prescription.

Shelley Bird, EVP Cardinal Health and chairperson of the Cardinal Health Foundation, said “We know that in most communities, patients look to their neighborhood pharmacist as the trusted healthcare resource they visit most. The goal of this funding is to develop tools and resources that pharmacists and pharmacy students can use to improve the overall health of their communities by educating patients and peers about how to detect and prevent the abuse and misuse of prescription medications.”

After an initial pilot rollout among Ohio pharmacies, colleges and universities, Cardinal Health and The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy plan to make these educational materials available for use nationwide.

“When used as intended, prescription and over-the-counter medications are safe and can improve and save lives. However, when they are not taken as intended, these medications can lead to addictions, health problems and even death,” said Ken Hale, assistant dean for professional and external affairs at The Ohio Sate University. “With more Americans abusing prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined, it’s clear that more needs to be done to combat this growing societal issue. With support from the Cardinal Health Foundation, the programming that we are developing will help more Americans understand prescription medication abuse and how to prevent it.”

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Shire receives market exclusivity for ADHD drug

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN, Ireland A new drug for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder properly received its five-year market exclusivity from the Food and Drug Administration, the drug’s manufacturer announced.

British drug maker Shire said the FDA confirmed the new chemical entity exclusivity given to Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate). The drug’s exclusivity period will last until February 2012, and its patents will remain in effect until June 2023.

Generic drug maker Actavis had sued the FDA in the District Court of the District of Columbia challenging the agency’s decision to grant Vyvanse status as a new chemical entity following its refusal to file Actavis’ approval application for a generic version of the drug. The court case was stayed pending the outcome of the FDA’s review.

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