PHARMACY

Rep. Slaughter raises concerns about proposed ESI-Medco merger

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., has expressed concerns about the proposed merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission.

The letter, dated Feb. 6, outlines how Slaughter represents a district that contains 34 independent pharmacies — which employ 364 full-time individuals — that fill more than two million prescriptions every year.

"The newly merged PBM would control one-third of the total 2011 PBM market share and 60% of the market share for mail-order drugs. This centralization raises the possibility of higher prices for prescription drugs and reduced choices for consumers," the letter stated. "My primary concern is the impact that the merger could have on community pharmacies and patients who rely on them not only for their medicine, but also for counseling and other specialized services and products."

Slaughter’s letter was praised by the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! coalition, which is seeking to stop the merger.

"The concerns expressed by Rep. Slaughter and so many others are very real – and need to be considered," said former congresswoman Eva Clayton, chairwoman of the PCPAN. "This merger threatens to saddle patients and consumers with higher costs for lesser quality care, it needs to be stopped."


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Nearly $1 billion in damages asserted in lawsuit over GERD drug

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India — A division of Pfizer is asserting that it incurred nearly $1 billion in damages related to the launch of generic versions of one of its drugs.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals said it estimated that it suffered damages of $960 million from Sun’s and Teva’s launches of generic versions of the gastroesophageal reflux disease drug Protonix (pantoprazole).

In 2010, the District Court had turned down an attempt by Wyeth to reverse a jury’s earlier decision declaring its patent on Protonix invalid. Pfizer acquired Wyeth in 2009.

Several other companies recently have received Food and Drug Administration approval for generic versions of Protonix, including Actavis, Mylan and Dr. Reddy’s.

 


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Mylan resolves defamation suit against Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, two reporters

BY Allison Cerra

PITTSBURGH — Mylan on Friday announced that the company and its subsidiary, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, have resolved the defamation and other related litigation filed by Mylan against the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and two of its reporters.

"The litigation has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties," the parties said in a joint statement. "The Post-Gazette did not find and did not intend to report that Mylan had manufactured or distributed any defective drugs. The Post-Gazette regrets if any reader of the article thought otherwise."

Back in 2009, Mylan filed suit against the newspaper for publishing articles that alleged the drug maker conducted pervasive manufacturing misconduct at the company’s plant in Morgantown, W.Va.

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