PHARMACY

Endo, Penwest settle patent infringement case with Barr

BY Alaric DeArment

CHADDS FORD, Pa. Endo Pharmaceuticals and Penwest Pharmaceuticals have settled a patent infringement suit with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ subsidiary Barr Labs concerning the latter’s generic version of an extended-release painkiller, Endo announced Tuesday.

Under the agreement between the companies, Barr will be able to sell a generic version of the drug Opana ER (oxymorphone hydrochloride) starting in September 2012.

Patent protection for Opana ER expires in 2022, according to Food and Drug Administration records.

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FDA tentatively approves Sun’s Namenda generic

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic Alzheimer’s disease drug made by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Sun announced Saturday.

The FDA gave the tentative approval to Sun’s memantine tablets in the 5-mg and 10-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Forest Labs’ Namenda, which has annual U.S. sales of around $1.2 billion, according to Sun.

A tentative approval means that a generic drug meets the FDA’s conditions for approval, but the agency cannot grant final approval until the branded drug’s patents expire. Forest’s patent for Namenda expires in April 2015, according to FDA data.

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Meijer offering free metformin to customers

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Meijer announced plans Monday to begin offering metformin immediate release, one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for Type 2 diabetes, at no cost to those with a prescription.

Meijer’s program — which will include doses prescribed in 500-mg, 850-mg and 1,000-mg tablets — joins other Meijer healthy-living initiatives designed to provide no-cost medicine to shoppers, including such initiatives as free children’s antibiotics and prenatal vitamins for women with a prescription. To date, Meijer has filled more than 5 million free antibiotic prescriptions, and more than 500,000 prescriptions for free prenatal vitamins. Combined, Meijer has provided a total cost savings to consumers of more than $90 million.

Meijer is one of several store chains that recently has announced free metformin offerings for customers. Last month, Publix launched a multifaceted program designed to assist customers and associates living with diabetes.

“Meijer is pleased to add metformin immediate release to our free medication program,” said Effie Steele, clinical services coordinator for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer. “As our population ages, Type 2 diabetes cases continue to grow. Adding metformin immediate release to Meijer’s free medication program, while providing other ways to manage diabetes through the various healthy living solutions offered in our stores, reinforces our commitment to promote healthy lifestyles for all of our customers.”

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