PHARMACY

FDA to consider using symbols, color coding on nutrition labels

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is considering adding symbols to nutrition labels to help make shopping for healthier choices a simpler task, officials revealed on Monday.

Similar to a traffic light system, future nutrition labels may rank foods by a red, yellow or green mark to allow shoppers to decipher between food that is low or high in fat, sugar or salt.

The system is already used in Great Britain, but officials have pointed out that any steps towards updating nutrition labels are for now, just an idea.

Some food manufacturers, like PepsiCo, have used their “Smart Spot” symbols on everything from diet sodas to potato chips to show consumers they are enjoying the foods they love without sacrificing their health in the process.

Ann Marie Krautheim, a nutrition expert National Dairy Council, said setting up a consistent system would be helpful, if it was tested on consumers to assure its effectiveness. Krautheim also said, however, the Council’s own research proved that consumers were more likely to choose taste over nutrition.

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PHARMACY

Teva announces shipment of generic Famvir

BY Allison Cerra

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has begun the shipment of its generic version of Novartis’ Famvir herpes treatment, the company said Friday.

As the first drug developer to file for a generic version of the drug, famciclovir, Teva has been awarded a 180-day period of marketing exclusivity.

The announcement comes two days following the U.S. District Court in New Jersey’s decision to deny Novartis’ motion for a preliminary injunction, which would have prevented Teva from marketing its version of Famvir.

During afternoon trading, shares of the Israeli company fell 11 cents to $43.39, while Novartis’ American Depositary Shares rose 8 cents to $53.41.

In 2006, Famvir net sales totaled at $166 million in the United States.

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Actavis’ generic Norvasc gets approval from FDA

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration approved Actavis Group’s generic version of a well-known high blood pressure medication, the company announced Friday.

The company said they were given the go-ahead to develop amlodipine besylate tablets, the generic form of Pfizer’s Norvasc. The medication will be available in 2.5, 5 and 10 mg doses.

Actavis, one of the leading generic pharmaceutical companies in the world, operates in close to 40 countries, and continues to expand its business with various product developments. The company became privately owned last month.

In the interim, shares of Pfizer fell 7 cents to $24.55 in morning trading.

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