PHARMACY

Coria launches prescription Atralin anti-acne gel

BY Drew Buono

FORT WORTH, Texas Coria Laboratories has launched its new drug, Atralin gel 0.05 percent. The drug is used to fight against the lesions of acne vulgaris.

In two separate 12-week studies, the drug was proven to be very successful in decreasing total acne lesions compared to a placebo. In the first study, 43 percent of the people using Atralin saw significance decrease in lesions compared to 22 percent using the placebo.

In the second study, 32 percent of the people using the placebo saw a decrease compared to 48 percent using Atralin.

“The new Atralin gel not only provides effective treatment but encourages patient compliance, which is often the key to keeping acne at bay and preventing any potential worsening or scarring,” said Duncan Aust, senior vice president of research and development, branded pharmaceuticals, at Coria Laboratories. “In addition to its proven efficacy, the low incidence of adverse events is expected to produce wide patient acceptance to achieve more favorable clinical outcomes.”

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Jury hits AstraZeneca with $215 million fine in price-inflation case

BY Drew Buono

MONTGOMERY, Ala. An Alabama state court jury found AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals at fault in inflating drug prices charged to the state’s Medicaid program, according to published reports. As a result, the company has to pay $215 million, $40 million in compensatory damages and $175 million in punitive damages.

Alabama claimed in its complaint, filed in 2005, that the companies overstated the average wholesale price of drugs, which is used to calculate Medicaid reimbursement rates to pharmacies.

AstraZeneca said the judge made numerous errors in the trial, which started Feb. 11. Those errors included barring evidence of how pharmacies manage Medicaid drug costs, according to the company.

AstraZeneca lawyer Thomas Christian told the jury in opening statements that state Medicaid officials had a complete understanding of how drug pricing worked. Once a drug was shipped to the wholesaler and then pharmacies, the company had no control over pricing, Christian said. The company plans on appealing the decision.

AstraZeneca is the first of more than 70 drugmakers sued by Alabama to go to trial. GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis Pharmaceuticals are scheduled for trial in April. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America and Merck’s Dey unit settled pricing claims with Alabama last month for a combined $6.75 million while admitting no liability.

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Prasugrel given priority review by FDA

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON A new drug, prasugrel, manufactured by Eli Lilly and Daiichi Sankyo, has been granted a priority review by the Food and Drug Administration.

The drug is intended for the prevention of blood clots, and if approved, will be competing against Plavix, the blockbuster drug sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Sanofi-Aventis. A study conducted in November has already shown that prasugrel was 19 percent more effect than Plavix, but resulted in a higher amount of serious bleeding.

A priority view, according to published reports, means that the FDA will decide within six months whether or not to approve the drug. An approval for a drug usually takes about 10 to 12 months.

The application for prasugrel was filed on December 26, and since the news of its priority view its shares rose up nearly 3 percent. If approved, Lilly plans its drug to be brand named Effient.

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