PHARMACY

Court reverses class action decision in Vioxx case

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. A panel of three judges in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court ruling that had dismissed a consolidated securities class action suit against Merck concerning the drug Vioxx Tuesday, prompting Merck to consider asking the full court of appeals or the United States Supreme Court to review the decision.

A judge in the U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., had found that the securities action should be dismissed because all the plaintiffs’ claims were time-barred under statutes of limitations.

Merck said that if the ruling is not reversed, it will renew its request to dismiss the suit on the alternative grounds it presented in the District Court, relying on standards that the Supreme Court established last year that imposes a higher bar for plaintiffs pursuing a securities case.

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Generics to drive worldwide pharmaceutical growth

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN JOSE, Calif. Growth in various sectors of the pharmaceutical industry is expected to come from Brazil, Russia, India and China the so-called B.R.I.C. countries according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts.

In the Asia-Pacific region in particular, government restrictions on healthcare spending and low discretionary spending power among the population is increasing sales of low-cost generic drugs, while China has emerged as a region with potentially vast opportunities for global marketplace majors.

Across various countries, the generic drugs market is seeing rapid growth thanks to the need for drugs that can save lives while remaining cost-effective. This is attracting multinational companies into production and marketing of generic versions of branded drugs. Many consumers in developing countries are gaining access to drugs previously out of bounds for them, though many of the drugs violate patents, according to the report, titled “Pharmaceuticals: A Growing Outlook.”

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FDA panel votes in favor of Pfizer’s Fablyn

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The benefits of Pfizer’s osteoporosis drug Fablyn outweigh its risks, a Food and Drug Administration panel said, recommending the drug for postmenopausal women in a 9-3 vote Monday.

The advisers on the panel said they could not determine whether deaths among patients using the drug were a statistically significant increase over deaths among those receiving a placebo.

But, they said, the decision was neither a clear rejection of the drug nor a clear endorsement.

Pfizer had maintained that numbers showing an increase in deaths among patients using the drug, known generically as lasofoxifene tartrate, were not statistically significant.

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