PHARMACY

Judge grants $570 million to lawyers in Wyeth diet pill case

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA Lawyers for the patients who sued Wyeth over its diet pills have been granted $570 million in legal fees by U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III, according to Bloomberg.

The lawyers received $414 million based on the decision for helping negotiate a $5 billion settlement and had received $156 million from the judge in a previous decision.

The drugs in question were Pondimin and Redux, which were pulled off the market by the company in 1997. The drugs were used in combination with the drug phentermine to suppress appetites. The drugs have been linked by researchers to heart and lung problems.

In 2000, Wyeth officials sought to wrap up the “fen-phen” litigation with a $3.75 billion national settlement. In 2004, the company was forced to add an additional $1.3 billion to resolve claims of those who opted out of the initial accord.

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FDA announces safety review of two immunosuppressive drugs

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration issued an early communication today stating that an ongoing safety review is taking place about the immunosuppressive medications CellCept by Roche and Myfortic by Novartis.

The drugs have been linked in safety data provided by Roche to progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a sometimes fatal disorder that affects the central nervous system.

Roche has recommended including this information in the CellCept label. The active ingredient in CellCept, mycophenolate mofetil, is metabolized by the body to MPA (mycophenolic acid), the active drug ingredient in Myfortic.

The FDA anticipates taking two months to complete its review of the safety data and the proposed revised labeling for CellCept and Myfortic that includes information about PML.

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MyInsuranceExpert.com launches in nine states

BY Drew Buono

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. A new Web site called MyInsuranceExpert.com helps individuals and families research and purchase insurance policies, according to published reports.

MyInsuranceExpert.com is available in Michigan and eight other states and hopes to expand to 40 states by the end of 2009. So far, he said the site’s biggest business comes from states like Texas and Florida, where there are fewer companies offering insurance to employees.

People go to the site to receive online quotes and ultimately purchase their insurance policy. But the site also has personal, licensed advisers who work with each client to ensure they have the most cost-effective policy possible.

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