PHARMACY

Generic industry applauds Daschle for call to lift FDA, generic approvals

BY Jim Frederick

ARLINGTON, Va. Former Sen. Tom Daschle’s renewed call for greater access to generic medicines won a quick endorsement from the me-too drug industry.

Daschle, nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to become the next secretary of the Dept. of Health & Human Services, voiced support on Thursday for more funding for the Food and Drug Administration, in part so that the agency can have the resources it needs to accelerate the review and approval process for generic drugs. If Daschle is confirmed by the Senate, the FDA would fall under his purview as head of HHS.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association seized on the secretary-designate’s remarks, made this morning during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “Consumers across the country should be pleased with Senator Daschle’s stated commitment this morning to strengthen the FDA and ensure that Americans have access to affordable generic medicines,” said GPhA president and CEO Kathleen Jaeger. “The FDA plays a monumental role in protecting the public health. That’s why the generic pharmaceutical industry has long championed the need for increased resources for the agency.”

Jaeger strongly endorsed Daschle’s comments onensuring adequate resources for FDA, guaranteeing that science drives publichealth policy, strong FDA leadership, and better inter-agency coordination, calling them “sound steps to ensure FDA is a strong and vibrant public health agency.” In addition, she said, “We were very pleased to hear Senator Daschle, in his response to SenatorOrrin Hatch’s comments regarding the value of generic medicines, state that ‘As we look to ways to bring down costs, I am absolutely convinced that a big part of that effort, if it is going to be done successfully, will be determined by the degree to which generic drugs are allowed to play the role that it can.’”

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General Mills donates to charity and advertises through NBC’s ‘Biggest Loser’

BY Melissa Valliant

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. Major food manufacturer General Mills is backing NBC’s hit show “Biggest Loser” with its first-ever advertising slot for the show’s seventh season, which started Tuesday night. The spot will be viewed by approximately 8.6 million viewers, and fall 2008 showed a 2% rise in adult viewers ages 18 to 49, a demographic that advertisers often like to target. Nine other marketers from the show’s December season will also be advertising.

General Mills is also sponsoring a “Pound for Pound Challenge” in which the Cheerios and Progresso soup maker will be contributing 10 cents to Feeding America for every pound of weight loss pledged at biggestloser.com.

“This is our first integrated partnership of this kind,” said John Haugen, General Mills’ vice president of health and wellness. “We’re looking for a positive impact on all of our brands.”

Though popular (“Biggest Loser” averaged 8.9 million viewers last January), the show will be rivaling Fox’s incredibly successful “American Idol,” which begins next week and also airs Tuesday nights. Idol can bring in an audience of up to 25 million.

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Adventrx faces further workforce cuts

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO After laying off 55 percent of its workforce, Adventrx is planning further reductions in its employees to extend its remaining cash reserves, the company announced Monday.

The company said that in the end, it will have 14 employees. It has also reduced and delayed spending on third-party consulting and vendor services, including contract manufacturing.

The remaining employees will evaluate options for the future and continue the company?s study of the drug candidate ANX-514 (docetaxel emulsion) and submitting an approval application for the candidate ANX-530 (vinorelbine emulsion).

“It’s never easy to let go employees, particularly those who have been with the company for many years and who have made contributions to the company,” Adventrx board chairman Jack Lief said in a statement.

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