PHARMACY

Biovail announces release of Xenazine treatment of Huntington’s disease

BY Alaric DeArment

TORONTO A medication that received orphan drug status from the Food and Drug Administration and recently won FDA approval has become available, the drug’s manufacturer said Monday.

Biovail said the drug Xenazine, a treatment for chorea associated with Huntington’s disease, has become available throughout the United States. It said the drug is the first and only FDA-approved treatment for any symptom related to HD.

“We are delighted to be involved in bringing this important product to the market,” Biovail chief executive officer Bill Wells said in a statement.

HD is a hereditary disorder that affects about 25,000 Americans. Chorea is its most common symptom and causes jerky, involuntary movements throughout the body. HD is ultimately fatal.

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PHARMACY

King announces acquisition of Alpharma

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISTOL, Tenn. King Pharmaceuticals will acquire Alpharma in a deal worth $1.6 billion, King said Monday.

Alpharma had rejected a $33-per-share bid King made earlier, but accepted the most recent $37-per-share bid.

Alpharma, based in Bridgewater, N.J., has lately sought regulatory approval for painkillers designed to thwart abuse, such as Remoxy, a liquid capsule-based formulation of oxycodone.

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Viagra under investigation for effect on athletes

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating whether the drug Viagra gives athletes a competitive advantage on the playing field.

The drug, known generically as sildenafil citrate and made by Pfizer, works by opening the blood vessels. According to published reports, some experts have said this could give athletes more endurance by increasing the bloodstreams ability to deliver oxygen.

If studies indicate that Viagra does give athletes an advantage, WADA will consider listing it as a performance-enhancing drug.

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