PHARMACY

New Senate legislation comes down on tobacco industry

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Tobacco companies face a new era of challenges under a law passed by the Senate Thursday.

The Senate voted 79 to 17 to pass a bill allowing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products. The House passed a similar bill in April, but the Senate bill will go back to the House before going to the president, who has said he will sign it.

The law would ban flavored cigarettes, except for those with menthol, bans advertising tobacco products as less harmful than others, such as “light” cigarettes, and requires tobacco companies to disclose all the ingredients in their products to the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Senate to vote on drug importation measure

BY Anna Mcgrath

WASHINGTON U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., has dropped his proposal to add the importation of cheaper medicines from other countries to a tobacco legislation.

Dorgan claims that under the amendment, the Food and Drug Administration would be given the power to oversee packaging, marketing and manufacturing of cigarettes and other tobacco products, Reuters reported. Additionally, U.S.-licensed pharmacies and drug wholesalers would also be allowed to import FDA-approved medicines from Canada, Europe and a few other areas for cheaper prices.

The Senate will consider the drug issue separately, Reuters said.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $5 million for the FDA to get started. Despite presidental backing, drugmakers are unhappy with Dorgan’s bill, claiming that with importation comes the risk for counterfeit drugs.

The tobacco bill passed the Senate on Monday with a 61-30 vote and proceeds to legislation later this week.

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KV Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma settle OxyContin dispute

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS A generic drug company has settled a dispute with a branded drug company concerning the painkiller OxyContin.

St. Louis-based KV Pharmaceutical Co. announced Tuesday that it had entered a settlement agreement with Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue Pharma in a patent infringement lawsuit that Purdue filed against KV.

Under the terms of the agreement, KV agreed that Purdue’s patents for OxyContin (oxycodone hydrochloride) are valid, enforceable and infringed. In exchange, Purdue granted KV limited rights to sell generic controlled-release oxycodone hydrochloride tablets in the United States for an unspecified period of time.

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