PHARMACY

Report: Aetna seeking to sell PBM business

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Health insurer Aetna Inc. reportedly is looking to sell its pharmacy benefit management business, which manages prescription drug benefits for about 11.2 million members, according to published reports.

Citing sources familiar with the situation, reports indicate that Aetna has hired financial advisors to run the sale of the business. Meanwhile, CVS Caremark and Medco Health Solutions have also been identified as potential buyers, according to published reports.

News of the possible sale was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

An analyst report in April estimated that Aetna could fetch at least $2 billion for its pharmacy benefit business, which is the fifth largest with 125,000 prescriptions handled annually, according to an analysis by Sanford Bernstein research, the WSJ reported.

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Taro files patent infringement suit against three companies

BY Alaric DeArment

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. An Israeli generic drug maker has sued three other companies, alleging patent infringement.

Taro Pharmaceutical Industries announced Monday that it had filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against Synerx Pharma, DPT Labs and Karalex Pharma, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,560,445. The patent covers Taro’s Ovide (malathion) lotion in the 0.5% strength, a treatment for head lice.

Taro said the defendants’ generic versions of the drug infringed its patent, and it’s seeking injunctive relief and damages.

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News article calls Mylan’s quality control into question; company responds

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH A news article published over the weekend calling generic drug maker Mylan’s manufacturing into question has drawn a response from the company.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Sunday that workers at the company’s Morgantown, W.Va., plant overrode drug quality controls required by the government by ignoring and deleting computer warnings of possible drug quality or equipment problems, based on a confidential internal report obtained by the newspaper’s reporters that called it a “pervasive” problem. Normally the warnings, known as “red screens,” require production to halt until a quality-control agent can investigate the matter.

The company responded by saying in a statement Monday that the Post-Gazette article was based on anonymous sources, improperly obtained documents and third-party commentary.

“Our customers and stakeholders can rest assured that whenever there is even the slightest departure from [a standard operating procedure], it will be dealt with immediately and effectively,” the company said in a statement. “This issue had no impact on the quality of our product.”

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