PHARMACY

It’s official: Watson changes name to Actavis

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Watson Pharmaceuticals has formally changed its name to Actavis and changed its New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol to ACT, the company said Thursday.

The generic drug maker, now the world’s third largest, announced its plan to change the name last year after it acquired Actavis. The combined company expects combined 2012 sales to exceed $8 billion.

"Today marks an historic day for Actavis and a milestone in our evolution into a global pharmaceutical leader," Actavis president and CEO Paul Bisaro said. "While we have been operating as one company since last year, today we unite all of our 17,000 employees under a single name, trademarked and protected around the world."

The company has started a multi-year rebranding campaign in which it will change its website, factories, operations and commercial presence around the world and plans to ring the closing bell Thursday at the New York Stock Exchange.


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PHARMACY

Pharmacy retailers, one PBM dominated prescription drug revenues last year, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA — Five pharmacies dominated prescription drug dispensing revenues in the United States last year, according to a new study.

The proprietary study, by the Drug Channels Institute, found that pharmacy retailers CVS Caremark, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts accounted for 63% of all prescription drug revenues in the $276.5 billion U.S. pharmacy industry in 2012.

"Next year, these companies will benefit from healthcare reform’s implementation, which will sharply increase U.S. spending on prescription drugs," Drug Channels Institute CEO Adam Fein said.


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PHARMACY

FDA approves Novartis drug for rare blood disorder

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for removing excess iron from the blood in patients with a rare genetic disorder, the agency said.

The FDA announced the approval of Novartis’ Exjade (deferasirox) for patients ages 10 years and older with chronic iron overload resulting from nontransfution-dependent thalassemia, or NTDT. A companion diagnostic, FerriScan, made by Australia-based Resonance Health, also was approved.

NTDT is a mild form of thalassemia that, unlike the more severe form of the disease, does not require frequent red blood cell transfusions. However, both disorders cause iron overload that can damage vital organs. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, about 1,000 people in the United States have thalassemia.

The drug was previously approved for treating chronic iron overload due to blood transfusions in patients ages 2 years and older.


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