PHARMACY

Merck, Schering-Plough stocks fall following Vytorin advisory

BY Drew Buono

KENILWORTH and WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Stock prices for Merck and Schering-Plough fell sharply Monday after the American College of Cardiology physicians advised doctors to stop prescribing Vytorin because it is not as effective as other drugs in slowing down atherosclerosis.

The recommendation followed discussion of the ENHANCE trial, which showed that Vytorin, a combination of Merck’s Zocor (simvastatin) and Merck and Schering-Plough’s Zetia (ezetimibe), was no more effective than Zocor alone in treating people genetically disposed to having high cholesterol.

The recommendation came despite theoretical explanations provided by Merck of why Vytorin did not lower LDL cholesterol more than simvastatin alone. One explanation suggested the trial’s imaging technology was not sensitive enough to show the difference between Vytorin and Zocor. The other explanation says that patients with the genetic condition were so extensively pretreated by lipid-lowering therapy before they took Vytorin that they would not be significantly affected by it.

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Arcadia funds DailyMed with $5 million debt facility

BY Antoinette Alexander

INDIANPOLIS Arcadia Resources, a provider of consumer health services doing business under the trade name of Arcadia HealthCare, has obtained a new $5 million debt facility to fund the growth of DailyMed and its related pharmacy fulfillment strategy.

DailyMed, which launched April 2006, is a retail drug packaging solution that pre-sorts multiple prescriptions, OTC medications and vitamins into easy-to-use single-dose packets.

“The financing will provide Arcadia with the cash to fund DailyMed and our related pharmacy fulfillment strategy and the working capital needs associated with the pharmacy business growth anticipated during our fiscal year beginning April 1, 2008,” stated Marvin Richardson, president and chief executive officer. “This deal represents an important first step towards executing our fiscal 2009 growth strategy and is significant in that the majority of debt will be used to grow our DailyMed business rather than meet core operating cash obligations.”

The facility matures on Oct. 31, 2009, bears interest at an annual rate of 10 percent and is secured by certain company assets.

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FDA approves Sun’s generic Tessalon

BY Adam Kraemer

WASHINGTON Sun has received FDA approval for a generic version of Forest Laboratories’ Tessalon capsules, a treatment for coughs due to the common cold, pneumonia and other lung infections.

The company, a week ago, also announced it had received FDA approval for its generic version of Pfizer’s Cerebyx (fosphenytoin sodium), an injectable anticonvulsant that has annual U.S. sales of approximately $15 million.

Brand and generic Tessalon (benzonatate) have annual U.S. sales of approximately $40 million, according to Sun.

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