PHARMACY

Hospira reports boost in Q3

BY Alaric DeArment

LAKE FOREST, Ill. An increase in specialty drugs, particularly a chemotherapy drug, caused Hospira’s third quarter 2009 profits to increase by 18.5% over third quarter 2008, the generic drug maker announced Tuesday.

Hospira posted profits of $395.6 million, compared with $333.8 million the year before, driven primarily by the launch of the drug oxaliplatin in the United States, as well as other specialty drugs, drugs prescribed by specialist doctors.

“Hospira delivered strong results in the third quarter, aided by the launch of generic oncolytic oxaliplatin and additional progress toward our Project Fuel initiatives,” CEO Christopher Begley said in a statement. “We continued to position Hospira for future success in this milestone quarter, during which we surpassed the billion-dollar revenue mark for the first time and generated strong double-digit earnings per share growth.”

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PHARMACY

HHS parcels out $17 million for HAIs

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services has doled out $17 million to projects set up to fight infections acquired in hospitals, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced.

Healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, affect nearly 2 million patients every year, contributing to 99,000 deaths and costing the healthcare system up to $33 billion. The most common culprit in HAIs is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.

“When patients go to the hospital, they expect to get better, not worse,” Sebelius said in a statement. “Eliminating infections is critical to making care safer for patients and to improving the overall quality and safety of the healthcare system.”

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Victoza yields substantial weight loss in diabetic patients, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

COPENHAGEN A drug developed for Type 2 diabetes provides greater weight loss than a popular weight-loss drug already on the market, according to a study published online in The Lancet.

Led by nutrition professor Arne Astrup, researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark analyzed 564 patients at 19 sites in Europe who received Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug Victoza (liraglutide) in a 1.2-mg, 1.8-mg, 2.4-mg or 3-mg dose; GlaxoSmithKline’s weight-loss drug Alli (orlistat) in a 120-mg dose; or placebo three times a day.

Patients taking Victoza lost between 4.8-kg and 7.2-kg, compared with 4.1-kg among those taking Alli and 2.8-kg among those taking placebo.

“Treatment with liraglutide, in addition to an energy-deficit diet and exercise program, led to a sustained, clinically relevant, dose-dependent weight loss that was significantly greater than that with placebo and orlistat,” the authors wrote. 

Victoza has been approved in Europe, though the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve it for the United States.

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