PHARMACY

Jury decides Abbott must pay J&J biotech division $1.67 billion

BY Alaric DeArment

HORSHAM, Pa. A federal jury in Texas determined that Abbott Labs developed one of its most profitable drugs using the patented technology of another company.

The jury ordered Abbott to pay $1.67 billion to Johnson & Johnson biotech division Centocor Ortho Biotech. J&J had accused Abbott of developing the autoimmune drug Humira (adalimumab) with technology for which J&J co-owns a patent with New York University and that J&J had used to develop the competing drug Remicade (infliximab), according to published reports.

“We are particularly gratified that the jury recognized our valuable intellectual property, finding our patent both valid and infringed,” Centocor Ortho Biotech president Kim Taylor stated. “We will continue to assert intellectual property rights for our immunology therapies, as they offer significant advances in treatment for patients with a number of immune mediated inflammatory diseases.”

As of Tuesday, Abbott had not issued a public statement in response to the verdict, though The Chicago Tribune quoted an Abbott spokesman as saying that the company would appeal, also reporting Abbott’s counterargument that Humira was developed entirely from human DNA, while Remicade was partially derived from mouse DNA.

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NACDS Marketplace Conference kicks off with Meet the Market format

BY Drug Store News Team

BOSTON It was a cool and crisp day as attendees filed into the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center Sunday to take part in the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Marketplace Conference annualized Meet the Market format, which this year represented more than 8,000 face-to-face pre-arranged appointments, including 270 retailers representing some 80 companies.

The Meet the Market format, where smaller and new suppliers are able to secure 10-minute meetings with their category buyers, takes on greater value in a recession economy, where many retailers are cutting more SKUs from their planograms than they’re slicing in, noted Larry Lotridge, NACDS VP conference services. “We know when the economy’s tight you still want to get in front of the retailers,” he said, “because our industry is still selling.”

Lotridge noted one supplier last year negotiated a 100-store test run in Walmart after an initial meeting at Meet the Market. This year, Lotridge said, that supplier is likely to secure full distribution with the mass marketer. “You want to be the company with the product on the shelf,” he said.

And such formats as Meet the Market are opportune to help new or small companies accomplish just that.

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NACDS, NCPA endorse Rep. Mike Ross’ MTM legislation

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two pharmacist organizations announced their support for H.R. 3108, the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act of 2009, sponsored by Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark.

The bill was introduced on June 26, and immediately was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and Committee on Ways and Means, two House committees with jurisdiction over comprehensive healthcare reform legislation.

Pharmacist-provided medication therapy management involves a licensed pharmacist’s work with a patient to review, monitor and identify problems with a patient’s medication plan.

“We appreciate the hard work and dedication of Rep. Ross as he continues to advocate for pro-patient and pro-pharmacy healthcare reform legislation in Congress,” stated National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson. “Rep. Ross’ bill signifies the importance of pharmacist-provided medication therapy management for improving medication adherence, enhancing patient health and reducing long-term healthcare costs.”

National Community Pharmacists Association EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts also supported the bill, stating that MTM improves patients’ adherence and their outcomes through the utilization of pharmacists’ expertise. “H.R. 3108 will expand the pool of Medicare Part D patients that can access this valuable service and recognize pharmacists for the savings they provide to the healthcare system,” Roberts said. “We thank Congressman Mike Ross for introducing this bill, and urge other members of the House to support it. We call on the Senate to introduce similar legislation. Ultimately, for healthcare reform to be fully successful, it must include proposals such as this to improve quality while lowering overall costs.”

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