PHARMACY

Baxter announces potentially safe and effective avian flu vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. A new vaccine against the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu from Baxter International appears to be both safe and effective in Phase I and II testing, according to a study published in the June 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine, Baxter announced Wednesday.

The vaccine, Celvapan, was given as a two-injection regimen to 284 adult volunteers in Singapore and Australia in a clinical trial. Results showed that it could protect around 76 percent of subjects against both the H5N1 Vietnam and Hong Kong strains, as well as protecting 45 percent against the Indonesian strain.

Flu vaccines are grown in fertilized chicken eggs, which can take 22 weeks. The new vaccine, however, is grown in green monkey kidney cells, and takes only 12 weeks to make.

Also, unlike other flu vaccines, which use virus proteins, Celvapan uses the entire virus, which has been killed with ultraviolet light and chemicals. Polio vaccines are also made with the whole virus.

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Florida e-prescribing organization releases registered vendor list

BY Alaric DeArment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ePrescribe Florida, an organization that assists pharmacies in adopting electronic prescription systems, released a list of registered vendor solutions Tuesday.

Registered vendors made the list by meeting a set of e-prescribing and patient-safety criteria, such as alerting customers about potential interactions between drugs and allergies, as well as meeting Medicare electronic prescription standards. The list of 13 vendors includes H2H Solutions, iScribe, MedPlus, Misys Healthcare Systems and NextGen Healthcare.

ePrescribe Florida comprises various pharmacies, physicians, insurers, health-care improvement organizations and other organizations and professionals.

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Cephalon sues Watson over Fentora patent

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Drug maker Cephalon alleges that Watson infringed on its patent by developing a generic equivalent to its drug, Fentora.

Fentora (fentanyl citrate) is used to treat pain in cancer patients and received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in September 2006.

Watson applied for FDA approval of its generic version in April. In response, Cephalon filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on June 2, asserting that Watson had infringed on patents ‘604 and ‘590, both of which expire in 11 years.

Fentora recorded sales of $135 million in 2007.

The FDA has, however, granted approval for Watson’s application for a generic version of KV Pharmaceutical’s Micro-K Extencaps in 600 mg and 750 mg doses.

The company that is now Wyeth sold global rights and the trademark for Micro-K to KV for $36 million in 1999. Micro-K had sales of $80 between March 2007 and March 2008, according to IMS Health data.

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