PHARMACY

Hospira closes in on deal to acquire Indian generic drug maker

BY Alaric DeArment

LAKE FOREST, Ill. A U.S. maker of generic injectable drugs has moved closer to acquiring the injectables business of an Indian generic drug maker.

Hospira announced that the standard review period required by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act for its bid to acquire the generic injectables arm of Chennai, India-based Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals had expired with no action by the Federal Trade Commission. The expiration brings Hospira closer to closing the deal, which it expects to happen in March.

“We’re pleased to move closer to adding Orchid’s proven-quality, cost-competitive generic injectables business to Hospira’s product portfolio and geographic footprint,” Hospira chairman and CEO Christopher Begley said in a statement. “Orchid’s capabilities provide a platform for future commercial growth, and we look forward to welcoming our new employees, whose talents and skill sets will contribute to Hospira’s success.”

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PHARMACY

Obese children at risk of early death, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Obese children carry a risk of dying before age 55 years, more than twice that of the thinnest, according to a study published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and other sites examined data on 4,857 nondiabetic Pima and Tohono O’odham Native Americans born between 1945 and 1984, starting from around the age of 11. The researchers chose the two groups because their rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes began increasing before those of the general U.S. population. The researchers then tracked them from childhood to adulthood.

Of the 559 who had died by 2003, diseases or self-inflicted injury – such as alcohol poisoning or drug overdoses – had contributed to the deaths of 166. Those with the highest body mass indexes in childhood were more than twice as likely to have died prematurely than those with the lowest indexes. Meanwhile, those with the highest blood glucose levels had premature death rates 73% higher than those with the lowest.

“Obesity, glucose intolerance, and hypertension in childhood were strongly associated with increased rates of premature death from endogenous causes in this population,” the authors concluded, referring to causes of death related to diseases and self-inflicted injuries. “In contrast, childhood hypercholesterolemia was not a major predictor of premature death from endogenous causes.”

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Sanofi-Aventis may pursue generic, OTC businesses

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer, Merck & Co. and Roche have made big mega-acquisitions. Eli Lilly has pumped money into research and development. Sanofi-Aventis, however, has pursued a more modest means of boosting its drug business and fending off generic competition, according to published reports.

Bloomberg quoted Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher as saying that the company would pursue the same strategy this year that it did in 2009, acquiring several smaller companies, such as its $1.9 billion acquisition of Chattem, which it completed this week.

Another way the company has found to retain profits in the face of generic competition is to make generics itself, particularly in emerging economies. In April 2009, it bought Mexican manufacturer Laboratorios Kendrick and Brazil’s Medley, followed in July by Czech drug maker Zentiva.

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