PHARMACY

Pfizer updates Exubera label with lung cancer warning

BY Drew Buono

New York Pfizer announced today that it was updating the label on its inhaled insulin joint venture drug Exubera, according to published reports. Pfizer had marketed the drug with Nektar Therapeutics before it decided to stop marketing the drug in October of last year.

The label is being changed due to increased instances of lung cancer being discovered after reviewing clinical trial data. Pfizer found six occurrences of lung cancer in the 4,740 patients treated with the drug compared with one out of 4,292 patients who were not treated with Exubera. The label states that all of the patients who developed lung cancer had previously been cigarette smokers, but that there were too few cases to determine whether the development of lung cancer is related to the use of Exubera.

Nektar also announced that it would stop looking for a new marketing partner for the drug and would stop all spending related to its inhaled insulin program. Back in November, Pfizer paid the company $135 million to resolve all outstanding contractual issues with Exubera and Nektar’s other inhaled insulin products, which were in phase 1 clinical trials.

Included in that deal was an agreement that if Nektar found a new partner, Pfizer would agree to transfer its remaining rights and economic benefits for Exubera and the Next Generation Inhaled Insulin product. This would have included Exubera’s new drug application and investigational new drug applications, as well as all ex-U.S. regulatory filings and applications, continuation of ongoing Exubera clinical trials and certain supply chain transition activities.

Pfizer said that it would monitor closely patients still on Exubera and help them make the transition to alternative therapies.

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Teva pays $7.5 million to settle IVAX lawsuit with Depomed

BY Drew Buono

MENLO PARK, Calif. Depomed will receive a one-time payment of $7.5 million from Teva Pharmaceuticals generic unit IVAX in relation to a settlement of a patent lawsuit, according to published reports.

Depomed had sued IVAX in January 2006 claiming patent infringement by IVAX’s Glucophage XR, a diabetes medication.

Under the terms of the settlement, Depomed will also get up to $2.5 million in royalties, for granting Teva a non-exclusive license allowing it to continue marketing the generic version of Glucophage XR.

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SynaMed launches free online PHR

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK SynaMed has launched its free online personal health record, which will be available to all patients.

“SynaMed simplifies record keeping so that patients do not have to rely on memory. A personal health record can also provide lifesaving medical information when a patient is not able to speak for themselves,” according to Holly DeMuro, SynaMed’s director of operations. SynaMed’s personal health record system uses a Web browser-based application service provider model, which allows patients access anytime, from anywhere with Internet connection.

Patients using SynaMed’s personal health record will be able to record all of their medical history, doctor’s visits, check insurance coverage for medications, and receive health maintenance reminders about wellness issues and checkups. “Going forward, SynaMed will be expanding the Personal Health Record to include overall health information such as mood, weight, diet, and exercise trackers. This feature will be the first complete online wellness center,” DeMuro said.

In addition to a state of the art PHR, SynaMed offers a free fully integrated electronic medical record and practice management system to medical practitioners.

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