PHARMACY

NCPA, IACP work to strengthen compounding lobby

BY Drew Buono

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association and the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists are teaming up to help increase the legislative and regulatory power of compounding pharmacists.

Last year, Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., Pat Roberts, R-Kan. and Richard Burr, R-N.C., attempted to introduce legislation into the Senate that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to intervene as to when a patient required a compounded medication. The bill, the Safe Drug Compounding Act of 2007 immediately raised concerns from the NCPA and the IACP, as well as the American Pharmacists Association and other industry groups. The groups argued that the bill would restrict patient access to vital medications. The bill has not yet been approved.

NCPA executive vice president and chief executive officer Bruce Roberts summed up the new partnership when he stated that, “NCPA and IACP are committed to joining forces whenever possible to ensure patient access to medications created through compounding is not endangered.”

One of the medications Roberts was referring to is estriol. The Food and Drug Administration began a policy recently that restricted women’s access to the drug in compounds. The FDA only allows the drug to be used if a physician completes an Investigational New Drug Application. “The federal government has shown a proclivity for pursuing and adopting unwarranted and unnecessary policies when it comes to pharmacy compounding as was recently demonstrated by their arbitrary ban of estriol in compounded medications for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy,” said Roberts.

The two groups plan on working together more as issues arise that deserve their attention. “IACP is pleased to be working even closer with NCPA, as we strongly believe both organizations can compliment each other in many ways. Not only can we work in tandem on issues where there is mutual agreement in the legislative and regulatory arenas, but both organizations have many member companies in common. IACP views this newly strengthened relationship as a truly beneficial one that recognizes you are most effective when more pharmacists join together in our advocacy efforts,” said L.D. King, executive director of IACP.

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PHARMACY

Ipsen to acquire Tercica in $663 million deal

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Paris-based pharmaceutical company Ipsen is buying Brisbane, Calif.-based biotechnology company Tercica for $663 million, or $9 a share.

Ipsen was already a major shareholder in Tercica, and the deal puts it in control of the remaining shares. It hopes to use the deal to expand operations in the U.S.

Ipsen will also buy British drugmaker Vernalis’ U.S. subsidiary and has acquired rights to Octagen’s experimental hemophilia drug OBI-1.

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PHARMACY

Taro tries to cancel deal with Sun

BY Drew Buono

MUMBAI, India In response to Taro announcing that it was canceling a merger agreement with Sun Pharmaceuticals, Sun chairman Dilip Shanghvi fired off a letter telling the drugmaker it cannot exit the deal.

After a year in which Taro’s finances rebounded from red to black, the company said it wanted out of its deal with Sun because the deal did not reflect its improved performance. In response, Shanghvi expresses disappointment that Taro made its announcement without engaging in meaningful dialogue. He also points out that Taro had only $47 million in cash as of March 31 and, without Sun’s infusions of cash last year, “Taro would have virtually negative cash—hardly the ‘dramatic’ improvement of which Taro has boasted.”

Last May, Sun agreed to acquire Taro for $454 million. Some stockholders objected to the agreement’s $7.75 per share offer and petitioned the Tel Aviv District Court for a temporary injunction, which the court never issued, to prevent Taro from harming minority shareholders.

After Taro reported net sales of approximately $313 million and a gross profit of nearly $168 million for 2007, the company’s board of directors unanimously voted to cancel the merger agreement, saying the company’s improved financials made Sun’s offer inadequate. The move came even after Sun purportedly offered to raise the merger price to $10.25 per share, according to Taro.

In light of Taro’s actions, Sun is considering its options, including commencing legal proceedings, Shanghvi says, adding that he is available to discuss a negotiated transaction with Taro.

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