PHARMACY

FDA gives Matrix tentative approval for generic Viread

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Matrix Laboratories has received tentative approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its application for a generic version of the HIV treatment drug Viread.

The drug is used in combination with other antiretroviral agents to treat HIV. Matrix received the first approval for the generic, named tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, in 300 mg tablets.

The company’s application was approved in less than six months and is the seventh under President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in the last 12 months. Under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a tentative approval means that a company can immediately sell an AIDS treatment outside of the U.S.

The goal of the program is treat 2 million people affected with the HIV virus, prevent 7 million new infections, and care for 10 million people infected by HIV/AIDS, including orphans and children. President Bush is working with congress now to reauthorize the program for another five years that would give $15 billion in support to fight the pandemic.

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Mylan, Forest get FDA approval of Bystolic for hypertension

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration has approved Mylan and Forest Labs’ new drug, nebivolol, for the treatment of high blood pressure. Forest will market the drug under the prescription name Bystolic.

Nearly 1-in-3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure, also called hypertension, which can increase the risks for stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure. “High blood pressure is often called the ‘silent killer’ because it usually has no symptoms until it causes damage to the body,” said Douglas Throckmorton, the FDA’s deputy director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Bystolic offers a new treatment option for people who need to control their high blood pressure.”

More than 2,000 people received Bystolic during clinical trials. The drug’s efficacy was similar to that of other approved beta blockers, the FDA said. The most common reported side effects were headache, fatigue, dizziness and diarrhea.

On Dec. 2 of this year, Forest and Mylan had said that final approval was contingent upon resolution of manufacturing deficiencies at a plant in Belgium.

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Genzyme gets expanded approval for Thyrogen from FDA

BY Drew Buono

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. The Food and Drug Administration has granted expanded approval for Genzyme’s thyroid cancer drug Thyrogen, according to published reports.

The new indication allows for Thyrogen (thyrotrophin) to be used in combination with radioiodine, a radioactive iodine used to treat thyroid cancer, to destroy the remaining thyroid tissue in patients who have had their cancerous thyroids removed.

Thyrogen was initially approved in the U.S. in 1998 for use as a diagnostic tool in the management of patients being tested for the recurrence of well-differentiated thyroid cancer. The drug helps increase the sensitivity of testing while allowing patients to avoid the potentially debilitating symptoms of thyroid hormone withdrawal.

“This new indication extends the significant benefits of Thyrogen to patients during their initial treatment for thyroid cancer, in addition to its current use in follow-up diagnostic procedures to detect recurrence,” said Mike Heslop, senior vice president and general manager of Genzyme’s endocrine business.

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