HEALTH

Court affirms decision that Watson Pharmaceuticals’ generic versions of Mucinex products do not infringe on any patents

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Watson Pharmaceuticals last week confirmed that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida’s February 2011 decision that Watson’s generic versions of Mucinex, Mucinex D and Mucinex DM extended-release products do not infringe Reckitt Benckiser’s U.S. Patent No. 6,372,252. 

Watson stated it is continuing to seek final approval of the products from the Food and Drug Administration. 

In 2009, Reckitt Benckiser sued Watson for patent infringement related to Watson’s filing of three abbreviated new drug applications for generic versions of Reckitt’s Mucinex line of products. The Mucinex products had total U.S. sales of approximately $500 million for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2010, Watson noted, citing SymphonyIRI Group data. 

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Study finds vitamin D deficiency could increase chance of muscle injury in athletes

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO — Vitamin D deficiency may increase the chance of muscle injuries in elite athletes, specifically NFL football players, suggested a recent study presented last week at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s annual meeting.

“Eighty percent of the football team we studied had vitamin D insufficiency. African-American players and players who suffered muscle injuries had significantly lower levels,” stated Michael Shindle, lead researcher and member of Summit Medical Group. 

Researchers identified 89 football players from a single NFL team and provided laboratory testing of vitamin D levels in spring 2010 as part of routine preseason evaluations. The mean age of the players was 25. The team provided data to determine the number of players who had lost time due to muscle injuries. Vitamin D levels then were classified based on player race and time lost due to muscle injury. 

Twenty-seven players had deficient levels, and an additional 45 had levels consistent with insufficiency. Seventeen players had values within normal limits. The mean vitamin D level in white players was 30.3 ng/mL, while the mean level for black players was 20.4 ng/mL. Sixteen players suffered a muscle injury with a mean vitamin D level of 19.9. 

“Screening and treatment of vitamin D insufficiency in professional athletes may be a simple way to help prevent injuries,” stated Scott Rodeo, co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

“Further research also needs to be conducted in order to determine if increasing vitamin D leads to improved maximum muscle function,” added Joseph Lane, director of the Metabolic Bone Disease Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

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Schiff Nutrition names SVP general counsel, corporate secretary

BY Michael Johnsen

SALT LAKE CITY — Schiff Nutrition on Thursday announced that Scott Milsten had assumed the role of SVP general counsel and corporate secretary effective July 12. 

“Schiff has entered a new phase focusing on growth,” Milsten stated. “I am excited to join the management team as we enhance our position as a world-class nutritional supplements company.” 

Milsten, 41, brings to Schiff six years of legal experience at healthcare companies and nine years of additional law firm experience. Most recently, he was SVP general counsel and corporate secretary at Celera, where he was responsible for the overall leadership of the legal function and played a key role in the management team that sold the company to Quest Diagnostics.

Milsten holds a juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and bachelor’s of arts in English from Duke University. 

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