HEALTH

CMPI survey: Alcohol, marijuana biggest substance problems among teens

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest on Thursday released the results of a national Teen Substance Abuse survey, indicating that police officers and high school teachers nationwide believe alcohol and marijuana are the most serious problem substances facing teenagers.

The results were released one week prior to a Sept. 14 Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee meeting called to discuss whether or not additional sales restrictions need to be placed on dextromethorphan, a popular cold remedy ingredient that has been associated with teenage drug abuse. According to the survey, police and teachers polled do not believe it is a good idea to force Americans to visit a doctor to get a prescription to purchase commonly-sold cough-cold medicines.

When asked which substances do pose the greatest negative impact on teens, teachers and police identified marijuana and alcohol, followed by methamphetamine and cocaine. More than 1-in-4 police officers (27%) identified prescription drugs acquired by teens as having the greatest negative impact on teens, as compared with 15% of teachers. Nonprescription medicines were named by 1% of police officers as having the greatest negative impact; 2% of teachers identified over-the-counter medicines as such.

The survey also revealed that by a margin of 2-to-1, police officers and high school teachers support education efforts as a means to address abuse of OTC cough-and-cold medicines, versus restricted accessibility to consumers.

“Americans expect to be able to buy cough medicines conveniently at the supermarket or their neighborhood corner store,” stated CMPI VP Robert Goldberg. “Overly restricting access to cough-and-cold products containing dextromethorphan will create more health problems than it will solve, especially during cold-and-flu seasons. We need to find common sense solutions and invest more resources in education.”

The entire Teen Substance Abuse survey is available at Cmpi.org.

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Abbott acquires Piramal’s Healthcare Solutions business

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott has gained a foothold in the Indian drug market through its acquisition of the Healthcare Solutions business from Piramal, Abbott said.

 

Abbott announced Wednesday that it had completed its acquisition of the business, saying it would further accelerate its growth in emerging markets, which currently account for more than 20% of its sales. The company expects its pharmaceutical sales in India to be more than $2.5 billion by 2020.

 

 

“The acquisition of Piramal’s Healthcare Solutions business further strengthens Abbott’s growing presence in emerging markets,” Abbott chairman and CEO Miles White said. “Piramal’s portfolio of well-known, trusted products has served patients in India for decades.”

 

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Shire, Acceleron Pharma ink development deal

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. British drug maker Shire is working with Cambridge, Mass.-based Acceleron Pharma to develop treatments for serious muscular disorders, Shire said Thursday.

 

The drug maker announced that the two companies would investigate ACE-031, a drug in mid-stage clinical trials as a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare and fatal muscle disorder with no current treatment. The drug belongs to a class known as activin receptor type IIB, or ActRIIB molecules.

 

 

The two companies will work together to advance ACE-031 into a global phase-2 and -3 clinical program designed to demonstrate disease modification in patients with DMD.

 

 

Under the agreement, Shire will pay Acceleron $45 million upfront, and the latter company will be eligible for milestone payments of up to $453 million for ACE-031 and other molecules. If the drug manages to win regulatory approval, Acceleron will have rights to commercialize it in the United States and Canada, while Shire will have rights in other countries.

 

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