PHARMACY

More people using EpiPen treatment for allergies, especially children

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The number of people getting EpiPens has increased dramatically, according to IMS Health data.

In 2003, doctors wrote prescriptions for 1.4 million EpiPens, which contain single doses of epinephrine for treating allergic reactions. By 2007, they had prescribed 1.9 million, an increase in 36 percent.

The pens, made by Napa, Calif.-based Dey, have become increasingly popular among people who have food allergies and run the risk of experiencing anaphylactic shock.

Reports also said that many more children receive relief from allergies with use of EpiPen than ever before due to notable increases in the rates of children allergic to common food items, such as peanuts.

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Amgen, Takeda cancer drug trials stopped after deaths

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Several deaths have brought phase 3 clinical trials of a cancer drug by Amgen and Takeda Pharmaceutical to a halt.

The two companies are investigating the drug, motesanib, as an initial treatment for small-cell lung cancer, to be used in conjunction with chemotherapy.

A committee monitoring the 600-patient study found more had died early using the drug than those receiving placebo.

“While we are disappointed in the outcome, it is consistent with data seen with some other anti-VEGF therapies and appears to constitute a class effect of these types of agents,” Amgen executive vice president for research and development Roger Perlmutter said in a statement.

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Elan appoints Paya as president

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. Elan Corp. has appointed Carlos Paya as president, the company announced Thursday.

Paya will work from Elan?s South San Francisco, Calif., campus, focusing on leading the company’s scientific, clinical and medical initiatives.

“As an immunologist, a former vice dean of clinical investigation at the Mayo Clinic and as a successful industry executive, Dr. Paya has a unique set of attributes and experiences that perfectly match the opportunities and challenges facing Elan,” said Elan chairman of the board Kyran McLaughlin in a statement.

Paya previously worked at Eli Lilly & Co. as vice president of Lilly Research Labs and global leader of the Diabetes and Endocrine Platform. He had served as an executive at Lilly since 2001. He also worked for six years at the Mayo Clinic as professor of medicine, immunology and pathology, in addition to his position as vice dean.

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