PHARMACY

FTC issues ‘second request’ to Teva, Cephalon over deal

BY Allison Cerra

JERUSALEM and FRAZER, Pa. — Before they can move ahead with their deal, drug makers Teva and Cephalon must provide the Federal Trade Commission with additional information related to Teva’s pending acquisition of Cephalon.

The "second request," as it often is called, is to extend the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 waiting period until thirty days after the parties substantially have complied with the request, the FTC said. Teva and Cephalon said they are in full cooperation with the FTC and continue to expect the acquisition will be completed in third quarter 2011.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, generic drug maker Teva said that it would buy Frazer, Pa.-based Cephalon for $6.8 billion in May.

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GPhA: Including provisions relating to biologics in TPP agreements is ‘premature’

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The country’s largest trade group for generic drug companies is concerned that the government’s negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement could hinder competition and access to generic drugs.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association sent a letter to President Barack Obama Tuesday saying that provisions relating to intellectual property rights for biotech drugs should not be included in the TPP, a proposed regional trade agreement for the Asia-Pacific region.

The GPhA noted that while implementation of a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars is ongoing at the Food and Drug Administration, significant disagreement remains about how the law should be implemented and whether further legislation is necessary.

“Given your administration’s position and the uncertainty surrounding the pathway’s implementation by [the] FDA, as well as the critical need to ensure access to safe and affordable medicines in global markets, it is premature to include provisions relating to biologics in any trade agreement,” GPhA executive director Bob Billings wrote in the letter.

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Poll: Most Americans believe oral contraceptive costs should be covered by insurance

BY Michael Johnsen

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Many American consumers are in favor of oral contraceptive coverage by both private and government-subsidized health insurance plans, according to a Thomson Reuters-National Press Radio Health Poll released Friday.

"Our survey findings provide a benchmark for public sentiment on issues that are continually dividing lawmakers, businesspeople and healthcare professionals," said Raymond Fabius, chief medical officer at the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.

The poll, which addresses public attitudes toward birth control pills, was developed by Thomson Reuters and NPR as part of a new monthly series designed to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of healthcare issues. Poll results are reported by NPR’s Scott Hensley on the health blog Shots and on air.

The poll found that 77% of respondents believed private insurance should cover most or all cost of oral contraceptives, and 74% believed government-subsidized insurance plans should cover birth control pills.

Additionally, 78% favored federal government subsidies of birth control and other family planning services, excluding abortion, at government-funded clinics for low-income women.

Complete survey results are available here.

To date, Thomson Reuters and NPR have addressed a number of healthcare topics, gauging sentiment on generic drugs, vaccines, food safety and other issues. NPR’s reports on past surveys are archived at Shots.

Thomson Reuters also offers a library of poll results here.

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