PHARMACY

AstraZeneca’s Tropol XL helps heart condition, increases chance of stroke

BY Drew Buono

LONDON According to a new study, AstraZeneca’s hypertension drug Toprol XL, increases the danger of stroke or death when given before surgery to prevent heart complications, as reported by Bloomberg.

The study looked at over 8,300 patients at risk for cardiac complications who were having an operation that didn’t involve the heart. While the drug reduced the chance of a heart attack, the increased possibilities for death and stroke may outweigh its usefulness, the researchers said in The Lancet.

Hypertension drugs such as Toprol XL, help the heart beat slower and with less force, are routinely given to high-risk patients undergoing operations. The research showed the drug more than doubles the threat of stroke and increases the likelihood of death by about 33 percent, the scientists wrote. The medicine prevented 15 heart attacks, the researchers said.

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Sanofi-Aventis, Debiopharm sue W.C. Heraeus over Eloxatin patent

BY Drew Buono

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. Sanofi-Aventis and Debiopharm have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against W.C. Heraeus, in which they accuse the company of helping generic drug makers infringe a patent on their active ingredient for the colorectal cancer drug Eloxatin.

In the suit, the plaintiffs claim that Heraeus manufactured the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Eloxatin for Mayne Pharma, Sandoz and Ebewe Pharma. The three companies independently submitted applications to sell generic versions of the drug before the 2013 expiration of the ‘874 patent.

Sanofi and Debiopharm have asked the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Heraeus and its officers from selling and importing generic oxaliplatin products claimed in the patent into the U.S.

Currently, there are no FDA-approved generic versions of the drug, which had worldwide sales of $2.35 billion in 2007, according to Sanofi.

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FutureScripts launches new Web site

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA FutureScripts, a pharmacy benefit manager in Philadelphia, has unveiled a new website, www.futurescripts.com. The website is a tool for plan participants, health care professionals and benefit managers to help find key information about the drugs on FutureScripts’ formulary, how safe prescribing procedures work and much more.

“The new website allows our customers to find vital information about their medications—whether a drug is available as a generic and what that drug costs compared to similar medications,” said Paul Urick, senior vice president of FutureScripts. “Our website also provides health care professionals and plan participants the latest updates on the drugs on our formulary.”

Through the site, plan participants can find a participating pharmacy within the FutureScripts’ national network of more than 60,000 retail and specialty locations by ZIP code search or by entering a pharmacy name benefit managers can read about the latest pharmacy trends through the online FutureScripts InSight newsletter. The frequently asked questions section features the most common inquiries received by FutureScripts, ranging from ‘What is a 96-hour temporary supply?’ to ‘How do I request an exception to an age, gender, or quantity limit?’

“Overall, our new site was designed to service the needs of our customers and was developed in response to their suggestions,” said Urick. “We expect to further enhance and customize our website to fit the evolving needs of plan participants, employers, health care providers, and pharmacists.”

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