PHARMACY

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients living longer

BY Drew Buono

CHICAGO According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, two-thirds of patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma between 2002 and 2004 will survive at least five years, compared with half of the patients diagnosed between 1990 and 1992, thanks to improved treatments, including the medication Rituxan by Genentech.

Ten-year survival rates were projected to rise to 56 percent in patients diagnosed from 2002 to 2004, up from 39 percent in 1990 to 1992, the researchers found.

Rituxan was the first cancer drug to use antibodies to specifically target tumors.

“Treatment with antibody therapy and chemotherapy has extended life expectancy in many cases, but whether and how often this extension represents a true cure is still unknown,” wrote Dianne Pulte, a researcher at the German Cancer Research Center, who analyzed data on almost 86,000 patients from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

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Pfizer wins Celebrex patent challenge

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Pfizer announced that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld two main patents for the company’s anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex, according to published reports.

Teva had challenged the patents, but the court ruled that the patents are valid and enforceable, but they did rule that a third patent, covering the treatment of inflammation was invalid.

Nevertheless, the decision blocks Teva from launching a generic version until May 2014.

The drug had global sales of $1.7 billion in 2007. Bear Stearns analyst project that it will reach global sales of $2.5 billion in 2008, an increase of 9 percent, and that the drug will pull in $3.1 billion by 2012.

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FDA to enhance warnings on Tussionex

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON UCB, the maker of Tussionex cough medicine, has reached out to the Food and Drug Administration to place a stronger warning on the drug. This new push stems from the report of five deaths of young children from taking Tussionex.

According to published reports, the deaths were all children under age 6, but the Belgian pharmaceutical company said that the drug is only to be taken for children and adults ages 6 and up.

Tussionex Pennketic Extended- Release Suspension contains the pain reliever hydrocodone. According to reports, the FDA is planning to issue an alert about the effects of Tussionex.

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