PHARMACY

Court finds that Watson’s ADHD drug patent is valid

BY Alaric DeArment

CORONA, Calif. The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware ruled Monday that Watson Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of an ADHD drug does not infringe the branded drug maker’s patent.

Watson announced the court ruling Tuesday, saying judge Joseph Farnan found that the ‘373 patent for Concerta (methylphenidate hydrochloride extended-release tablets), by ALZA Corp. and McNeil-PPC, is invalid. The ruling applies to Watson’s versions of Concerta in the 18 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg and 54 mg strengths.

“We are very pleased that the court has ruled in our favor, and we will continue to evaluate the court’s opinion as we contemplate next steps,” Watson president and CEO Paul Bisaro said. “We are currently pursuing final FDA approval of this important product.”

The two branded companies originally sued Andrx Corp. in 2005 over the drug; Watson acquired Andrx the next year.

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Study: Anti-smoking medication effective treatment for patients with cardiovascular disease

BY Alaric DeArment

ORLANDO, Fla. An anti-smoking drug normally prescribed to otherwise healthy people also works for people with cardiovascular disease, according to a study.

Study results presented Tuesday at the American College of Cardiology’s 58th Annual Scientific Session indicate that 47% of smokers with a history of cardiovascular disease who take Pfizer’s drug Chantix (varenicline) were able to quit without relapse for the first four weeks of treatment, compared to 13.9% who received placebo.

“These data are consistent with the findings from the pivotal varenicline trials, which showed that varenicline was more effective than placebo among smokers who were generally healthy,” lead study investigator, Harvard Medical School professor of medicine and director of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital Nancy Rigotti stated. “This study demonstrates that varenicline is effective in helping smokers with cardiovascular disease quit smoking.”

Approximately 130,000 people die each year from smoking-related cardiovascular disease in the United States, constituting about one-third of all smoking-related deaths among adults aged 35 and older.

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FDA approves vaccine for Japanese encephalitis

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. A viral disease mostly found in Asia but rare in the United States that kills as many as 15,000 people a year now has a vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration approved British drug maker Intercell Biomedical’s Ixiaro, a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis. The mosquito-borne disease, which affects between 30,000 and 50,000 people each year, is sometimes found among civilians and military traveling between the United States and Asia.

Symptoms of JE include flu-like symptoms that can progress to high fever, neck stiffness, brain damage, coma and death.

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