PHARMACY

FDA grants tentative approval to Taro for Lamotrigine

BY Drew Buono

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. Taro Pharmaceuticals has received tentative approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its application for Lamotrigine tablets.

Lamotrigine is the generic version of the GlaxoSmithKline epilepsy and bipolar I disorder drug Lamictal. It will be available in 25, 100, 150 and 200 mg strengths.

Lamictal had annual sales in the U.S. of about $2.6 billion.

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PHARMACY

Rite Aid posts sales increase for March

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Thursday reported a same-store sales increase of 2.6 percent (which does not yet include the Brooks/Eckerd acquired stores) for the four weeks ended March 29.

Pharmacy same-store sales increased 1 percent, which included an approximate 493 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions. Front-end same-store sales were up 5.7 percent. March same store sales were positively affected by a shift to a March Easter this year from an April Easter last year (March 23 this year as compared to April 8 last year).

Total drug store sales for the four-week period increased 50.7 percent to $2 billion. Prescription revenue accounted for 67.6 percent of drugstore sales, and third party prescription revenue represented 96.2 percent of pharmacy sales.

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FDA grants orphan designation for MELAS syndrome drug

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON Sirtris Pharmaceuticals has been granted orphan drug designation for resveratrol by the Food and Drug Administration, according to published reports.

Resveratrol is a drug used to treat MELAS syndrome, a progressive fatal aging disease that produces symptoms of muscle weakness, fatigue, recurrent headaches and seizures. The government’s grant is usually offered in cases in which companies are discovering treatments for rare drugs, and the grant would allow the company to speed up their testing period.

Sitris has decided to focus on the SIRT1 gene, which is a gene tied to the aging process. SIRT1 is being studied as a possible source in treating MELAS or type 2 diabetes. According to published reports, the grant has resulted in Sitris being offered seven years of marketing exclusivity for its formulation of resveratrol.

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