Q&A: A dose of generic Meda-cine
Many generic drug companies have long marketed branded drugs on the side, but lately, some branded drug companies have sought to enter the generics business as well. One of those companies is Meda Pharmaceuticals, the U.S. subsidiary of Swedish drug maker Meda AB. Drug Store News recently interviewed John White, Meda’s senior director of marketing.
Drug Store News: What gave Meda the idea of pursuing generics?
John White: Generic medications account for roughly 3-in-4 prescriptions dispensed across the United States. Meda has made the strategic decision to serve this large and growing segment of the market by forming Wallace Pharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Meda Pharmaceuticals. The strategy demonstrates Meda’s efforts to diversify, align and better serve the needs and interests of our customers. We believe our ability to provide consistency in therapeutic effect, manufacturing and supply to our parent company’s branded products will prove to be a competitive advantage for Wallace Pharmaceuticals.
DSN: Considering that the available pool of blockbuster drugs coming off patent is getting smaller, how does Meda plan to use generics to drive growth for the company overall?
White: There is a significant opportunity for continued growth of generic prescription products in healthcare reform, and Wallace is well-positioned to become a preferred supplier of high-quality, high-value generic medicines. Wallace Pharmaceuticals creates an additional platform for Meda’s portfolio growth across therapeutic categories in which we will seek to introduce products where current and future market needs exist.
DSN: On what therapeutic areas do you plan to focus?
White: Wallace is launching with a core portfolio of Meda’s well-known allergy and pain medicines, and will be announcing additional product introductions in the upcoming months.
DSN: In what markets do you plan to concentrate business?
White: Efforts to launch Wallace Pharmaceuticals will be focused in the United States.
DSN: What about biosimilars?
White: We have no plans at this time.
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Re-evaluating Chinese currency remains a bad idea
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Herbert Hoover is alive and well — and picking up his prescriptions at the local drug store.
(THE NEWS: Retailers urge Congress to reject Chinese currency legislation. For the full story, click here.)
Of course, he isn’t. But if he were, he might have some advice to offer current members of Congress and occupants of the White House based on his experience with the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which attempted to rescue the U.S. economy by imposing tariffs on imported goods, but instead ignited a trade war that many historians blame for deepening the Great Depression.
The legislation to impose tariffs on Chinese imports as a way to force it to revalue the yuan is based on the assumption that China manipulates its currency to make its manufactured goods more competitive in the U.S. market. Thus, the reasoning goes, if China were to revalue the yuan, it would help American manufacturers by making Chinese imports more expensive and American goods more competitive in China, thereby helping to ease the U.S.-China trade deficit, which totaled $226.9 billion last year and has so far reached more than $145 billion this year, according to U.S. Census data.
But it’s not that simple. In 1930, the United States manufactured most of its own consumer goods; but that’s no longer true, and the bulk of consumer goods, from toys to digital cameras, now come from China. Also frequently lost in the melee is the fact that most of the supposedly Chinese goods are not Chinese at all, but rather products with American, Japanese, Korean and European brands that are assembled in China. Unlike in the 1970s and 1980s, when such Japanese companies as Sony were eating the lunch of such American counterparts as General Electric, the “Made in China” label now graces the products of both.
For that reason, if legislators imposed big tariffs on Chinese goods or if China dramatically revalued the yuan, it would simply force retailers to pass the extra costs to consumers. So after picking up his prescriptions, Hoover would find the digital camera he had planned to buy from behind the counter noticeably more expensive. While this would not likely lead to another Great Depression, it would certainly diminish consumers’ purchasing power.
As for the manufacturing jobs, many experts have said they would simply migrate to cheaper countries rather than returning to the United States. This trend already is under way in textiles, as many clothing companies have started moving factories from China to such countries as Bangladesh in response to the increasing costs of manufacturing in China.
Perrigo seeks approval for generic Zegerid OTC, Schering-Plough files suit
ALLEGAN, Mich. Perrigo has filed for regulatory approval of a generic version of an over-the-counter medication for frequent heartburn, prompting a lawsuit from the branded version’s manufacturer.
The company announced Friday that it had filed for approval for omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate in the 20 mg/1,100 mg strength. The medication is a generic version of Zegerid OTC, made by Schering-Plough HealthCare, a subsidiary of Merck.
Schering-Plough filed a lawsuit Monday alleging patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to prevent Perrigo’s commercialization of the product.
Zegerid had sales of around $60 million during the 12-month period ended in the “most recent month,” according to SymphonyIRI Group.
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