PHARMACY

Bristol-Myers Squibb reports positive financial performance

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK In spite of the global economic downturn and a prediction from IMS Health global pharmaceutical sales growth will decline by as much as 3.5% this year, drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb reported good financial performance and success in two strategic initiatives in its first quarter 2009 financial report Tuesday.

Net sales were $5.02 billion, a 3% increase over $4.9 billion in first quarter 2008, or 8% when excluding the affect of foreign exchange rates. Bristol also announced earlier this month that it would extend its development and commercialization deal with Otsuka Pharmaceutical for the bipolar disorder and schizophrenia drug Abilify (aripiprazole) from November 2012 to April 2015, and the two companies would collaborate on two cancer drugs, Sprycel (dasatinib) and Ixempra (ixabepilone).

The Food and Drug Administration’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee determined by a vote of 10 to 2 that data submitted with the regulatory application that Bristol filed with AstraZeneca for the Type 2 diabetes drug Onglyza (saxagliptin) were sufficient to rule out unacceptable risks to cardiovascular health while unanimously recommending a post-marketing trial to confirm the data.

The HIV drug Reyataz (atazanavir sulfate) and the hepatitis B drug Baraclude (entecavir) demonstrated consistent growth, while sales of the cancer drug Erbitux (cetuximab) declined by 12% compared with first quarter 2008.

“Our operating performance was excellent at both the top and bottom lines,” Bristol chairman and CEO James Cornelius stated. “We made outstanding strategic progress, taking decisive actions that shift our focus toward future growth as a biopharma leader.”

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FDA, SAMHSA to develop education campaign for methadone

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. A drug used to treat pain and heroin addiction is one of the most-abused prescription drugs in the country, but two government agencies will collaborate to educate the public on how to use it safety.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced Monday that they would launch a joint education campaign within SAMHSA about the safe use of methadone.

The agencies will hold a press conference Tuesday morning to mark the launch of the program.

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Decision Resources releases bipolar depression report

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. Psychiatrists treating patients with bipolar depression base their prescribing decisions on a therapy’s effect on decrease in severity of depressive symptoms, a report released Monday has found.

Decision Resources’ report, “Bipolar Depression: Despite Negative Results, Physicians Still Hopeful About Aripiprazole,” based on a survey of psychiatrists in the United States and Europe, also found that an orally administered drug that carries a lower risk of weight gain than AstraZeneca’s Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) would earn a 21% patient share in bipolar depression in the United States and a 30% share in Europe.

Most of the people interviewed also thought that Abilify (aripiprazole), made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical, is an efficacious therapy for bipolar depression despite its failure in clinical trials of people with the disorder.

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