PHARMACY

Celltrion gets FDA approval to produce Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Orencia

BY Drew Buono

INCHEON, South Korea The biotech company Celltrion has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to serve as a contract manufacturer to make Bristol-Myers Squibb’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Orencia, according to published reports.

“We are pleased to continue our strategic business partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Achieving approval from the FDA to manufacture Orencia is an important milestone that reinforces our vision to become a fully integrated global biotechnology company,” said Jung-Jin Seo, chairman and chief executive officer of Celltrion. “Celltrion is dedicated to working with our business partners to exceed their quality requirements while providing manufacturing value. It is our commitment to quality service that will attract other global biopharmaceutical companies to our manufacturing capabilities.”

The supplemental biological license application was submitted by Bristol-Myers Squibb to meet expected demands for the drug.

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LG debuts home health-monitoring in a cell phone

BY Drew Buono

CALGARY, Canada The Home Health Monitoring Solution is a new handheld device developed by LG Electronics allows patients with chronic illnesses to send such information as their pulse, blood pressure and glucose levels to their physician wirelessly, according to published reports.

The goal is eventually to add the technology to cellphones, the same way photography and music capabilities have been added. The product is designed to help patients with illnesses that need constant monitoring. It could also be useful for seniors with limited mobility and for patients who live in rural areas. By constantly keeping track of someone’s medical data it would provide a greater help to the patient and physician monitoring the illness.

The first stage of tests for the three-year project will begin next month. It will involve monitoring blood pressure, pulse and temperature. Down the road, glucose levels and other blood chemistry markers will be added as features.

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Senate votes to extend current SCHIP legislation through March 2009

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Senate on Tuesday approved a bill unanimously that will extend the State Children’s Health Insurance Program through March 2009, according to reports. The House of Representatives plans to look at the issue before the end of the year.

This extension will end a battle for now with President Bush, who had twice vetoed the bill, including the most recent veto last week. Bush vetoed the program the second time because he felt the second version was too similar to the first and would cost too much money as well as shift children from the private marketplace to government run programs.

The bill also would stop a scheduled 10 percent pay cut for Medicare doctors for six months and provide a 0.5 percent increase instead. The health legislation costs about $6 billion, but was paid for by savings in other health programs.

The program currently covers about 6.6 million poor children.

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