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Dr. Reddy’s launches generic Zemplar

BY Ryan Chavis

HYDERABAD, India — Dr. Reddy's Labs on Wednesday announced that it has launched paricalcitol capsules in 1-mcg, 2-mcg and 4-mcg dosage strengths. The drug is the generic version of Zemplar (paricalcitol) capsules.

The Zemplar brand and generic version had U.S. sales of approximately $109.6 million for the 12 months ending March 2014, according to IMS Health.

 

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CBA gives consumers new territory to explore

BY Ryan Chavis

PORTLAND, Ore. — Craft Brew Alliance, an independent craft brewer, announced that its second Craft Beer Explorer Variety Pack is available for purchase in markets across the United States.

The pack offers beer drinkers an opportunity to enjoy special release beers from three different craft breweries. The newest edition of the package includes: Kona Lemongrass Luau Blonde Ale, Redhook Fat Chance Light IPA and Widmer Brothers Double M.A.C. Session IPA

“Today’s beer drinkers love to explore new styles and flavors, and they’re looking for variety,” said Robert Rentsch, senior director of brand development. “CBA is home to three of the most popular and original craft breweries in the United States, which gives us a unique advantage in that we can offer a variety of beers from several distinctive breweries, as opposed to just one. We developed the Craft Beer Explorer package to introduce consumers to some long-time pub favorites and innovative, small-batch beers that they might not be able to get outside of our breweries.”

The Explorer Pack invites consumers to visit CraftBeerExplorerPack.com to learn more about the beverages and share their feedback.

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Massachusetts enacts biosimilars legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on Tuesday enacted biosimilars legislation updating Massachusetts’s pharmacy law and paving the way for the substitution of biosimilars deemed "interchangeable" by the Food and Drug Administration. The governor took such action after passage of HB 3724 in both chambers of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  

“As a physician, I applaud the governor and the legislature for taking action to maintain the careful checks and balances needed in administering biologics,” said Richard Dolinar, chairman of the Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines. “Unlike chemical drugs, biologics are complex medicines treating complicated conditions. For that reason, regulations are needed to ensure doctors have a complete knowledge of what medicines are administered to their patients. I feel confident that this new law strikes the right balance in maintaining the safety and efficacy of biologic products, while advancing more treatment options to patients.”  

Biosimilars, or copies that are similar to but not exact versions of the original biologic, are expected to be approved by the FDA as early as 2015.  

While the FDA will deem whether a biologic drug is approved and "interchangeable," it is up to the states to decide whether one product may be substituted at the pharmacy level in place of the original biologic prescribed. This new law allows pharmacists to substitute a biosimilar for a brand biologic once the biosimilar is deemed to be "interchangeable." The pharmacists would be required to communicate that a substitution has occurred both to the patient, as well as the prescribing physician.  

Physicians also would maintain the right to prohibit substitutions from occurring if the prescriber instructs otherwise in writing. The pharmacy will be required to maintain a record of each substitution for a period of at least a year.  

Massachusetts is the third state this year to pass biosimilars legislation and pave the way for the substitution of biosimilars. “By ensuring that communication between physicians, pharmacists and patients remains a priority, we can monitor these complex therapies while providing the best quality and care,” Dolinar said.

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