PHARMACY

Hartford study ranks most popular workers’ comp prescriptions

BY Drew Buono

HARTFORD, Conn. The Hartford Financial Services Group released its 2006 annual study of the 25 most costly drugs in workers’ compensation cases. The number one drug from the last five years, OxyContin, the long acting narcotic painkiller, has been knocked off from its top spot.

The new number one is Lidoderm, a non-narcotic painkiller in patch form. OxyContin dropped to number five. Narcotics make up about 40 percent of workers’ compensation claims in regards to pharmaceuticals and that has worried some physicians.

“We remain concerned about the widespread use of narcotic pain killers to manage non-malignant pain in injured workers,” said Robert Bonner, medical director for The Hartford. “Narcotics account for 40 percent of the workers’ compensation claim dollars we spend on pharmaceuticals, but other pain management drugs and combinations would work equally well for some patients and avoid the potential risks associated with narcotics.”

The top five is listed from one through five as the following: Lidoderm, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Celebrex and OxyContin.

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Court overturns $3 million jury award against Wyeth’s Prempro

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA A judge has overturned a jury’s decision to award a woman $3 million for claiming that Wyeth’s hormone-replacement drug Prempro caused her breast cancer, according to the Associated Press. The judge said the plaintiff did not have sufficient evidence to show that the company acted negligently.

Only four of about 1,500 cases pending in Philadelphia have gone to trial. Each time, a jury sided with the plaintiff only to have the judge reverse the verdict, lawyer Tobi Millrood said. The plaintiff, Jennie Nelson plans on appealing the decision to the state Superior Court.

Nelson had claimed that she was diagnosed in 2001 after taking the drug for five years to treat symptoms of menopause. Her lawyers argued that the manufacturer Wyeth had knowledge the drug caused cancer, yet failed to issue adequate warnings.

This is in contrast to a recent decision in Nevada that saw Wyeth lose a verdict to three women who made the same claims. The women won $134 million in that case.

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Sun Pharma, Novartis reach agreement on Exelon

BY Drew Buono

MUMBAI, India Sun Pharmaceuticals and Novartis have reached an out-of-court settlement in relation to Novartis’ Alzheimer’s drug Exelon, according to published reports.

“Under the terms of the settlement, Sun Pharma will not market generic Exelon in the U.S. until sometime prior to the expiration of the patents covering Exelon. The specific date on which Sun may launch and the other terms of the agreement are confidential,” said Sun Pharma in a statement.

Sun Pharma, being one of the first to file an application to sell generic Exelon in the U.S, was eligible to share a 180-day marketing exclusivity on the drug. However, had it launched its generic version of Exelon before reaching an agreement with Novartis, it would have done so at risk of damage claims by Novartis for patent infringement.

Exelon had sales of about $200 million last year in the U.S.

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