PHARMACY

Caraco announces plans to reduce workforce

BY Alaric DeArment

DETROIT After ceasing operations at several of its Michigan plants, generic drug maker Caraco Pharmaceutical Labs plans to reduce its workforce.

The Detroit-based pharmaceutical company announced Monday that it would lay off 350 workers in order to save money after voluntarily stopping manufacturing at its plants in Michigan. The company said the layoffs would not affect products distributed in the United States.

U.S. Marshals seized drugs manufactured at Caraco’s Michigan plants on June 25 at the request of the Food and Drug Administration after the company allegedly failed to resolve violations of the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements, which the agency had found during a previous inspection. Caraco said at the time that it expected the cessation of operations to have a “material adverse effect” on the company in the near term.

Caraco also said JPMorgan Chase Bank had forbidden it from drawing on a $10 million line of credit until it resolves the dispute with the FDA, though this would not affect its current financial position.

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PHARMACY

CVS Caremark renews distribution agreements

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN FRANCISCO McKesson has renewed its distribution agreement to supply CVS Caremark with branded and generic drugs, the company announced on Monday.

“CVS Caremark’s decision to renew its agreement with McKesson is reflective of the trusted relationship between our two companies and the value McKesson has delivered to CVS Caremark over the years,” stated Paul Julian, EVP, group president for McKesson. “McKesson’s comprehensive supply chain solutions help CVS Caremark ensure the highest levels of product availability and product integrity, empowering CVS Caremark to provide outstanding pharmaceutical care and further strengthen its competitive position.”

In related news, the retail giant also announced that it has renewed its distribution agreement with Cardinal Health. CVS Caremark said Cardinal Health will supply pharmaceuticals to its national network of retail pharmacies through mid-2013.

“We have a long-standing partnership with CVS Caremark, and we are proud to continue this important relationship,” said George Barrett, vice chairman of Cardinal Health and CEO of the Healthcare Supply Chain Services segment. “The footprint of the agreement is expected to be fundamentally the same as our existing relationship.”

Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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FDA rejects application of pain-relief drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PALATINE, Ill. The Food and Drug Administration has rejected an approval application for a pain-relief drug.

Acura Pharmaceuticals and King Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA had issued a letter turning down their application for Acurox (oxycodone HC1, USP and niacin, USP), an immediate-release drug designed to relieve moderate to severe pain.

The companies said the letter expressed concerns about the potential abuse deterrent benefits of the drug. One of the drug’s ingredients, oxycodone, is a opiate-derived controlled substance popular with drug abusers.

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