PHARMACY

Perrigo completes $8.6 billion acquisition of Elan Corp.

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN — Perrigo has finalized its acquisition of Elan Corp., Perrigo said Wednesday.

The Michigan-based maker of branded and generic prescription and OTC drugs announced last week that the Irish High Court had approved its $8.6 billion deal to buy Ireland-based Elan, the last regulatory hurdle it had to clear before finalizing the deal, which it announced in July.

"The combined company establishes a diversified platform that will position Perrigo well for further expansion," Perrigo chairman and CEO Joseph Papa said. "When combined with the royalty stream from Tysabri, a blockbuster product that generated revenues of $1.6 billion last year, this platform will create an industry-leading global healthcare company with the balance sheet liquidity and operational structure to accelerate our growth."

 

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More teens abusing Adderall, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A new study has found a significant increase in the number of high school students who report having abused a common prescription drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, even as abuse of other prescription drugs has decreased or remained low.

According to the University of Michigan’s annual "Monitoring the Future Study" survey, improper use of Teva’s Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) has been rising since 2009. Back then, rates of abuse among high school seniors were 5.4%, a figure that rose to 6.5% in 2010 and 2011, and then to 7.6% in 2012. The current rate stands at 7.4%. The survey included about 41,600 teenagers in the eighth through 12th grades.

"The rates of Adderall misuse and abuse among high school seniors remains unacceptably high, and the new data make it very clear: The abuse of all prescription medicines is an immediate threat to the health of America’s teens," The Partnership at Drugfree.org president and CEO Steve Pasierb said. "Another year of data and a harsh spotlight specifically on prescription stimulants must serve as a call to all families to address the issue of intentional medicine abuse."

By contrast, abuse of Novartis’ Ritalin (methylphenidate), another ADHD drug, was much lower at 2.3%, while abuse of AbbVie’s opioid painkiller Vicodin (hydrocodone; acetaminophen) had significantly decreased, from 10.5% in 2003 to 5.3% this year. Abuse of cough medicines containing dextromethorphan also has decreased from 6.9% in 2006 to 5% this year.

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GSK’s, Theravance’s Anoro Ellipta receives FDA approval

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug made by GlaxoSmithKline and Theravance for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the agency said Wednesday.

The FDA announced the approval of Anoro Ellipta (umeclidinium; vilanterol inhalation powder) as a once-per-day maintenance treatment for airflow obstruction in patients with COPD, a term that encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema; smoking is the leading cause of COPD in the United States.

"Anoro Ellipta works by helping the muscles around the airways of the lungs stay relaxed to increase airflow in patients with COPD," FDA Office of Drug Evaluation II director Curtis Rosebraugh said. "The availability of new, long-term maintenance medications provides additional treatment options for the millions of Americans who suffer with COPD."

The drug is a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist, or LABA, which is designed to improve breathing by relaxing the muscles of the airways to allow more air to flow into the lungs. The drug carries a boxed warning, the strongest FDA-mandated warning a product can have, that LABAs increase the risk of asthma-related death; the drug is not approved as a treatment for asthma, the FDA said.

 

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