PHARMACY

Report: FTC to rule on Express Scripts, Medco merger within 30 days

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Bloomberg on Friday reported that Express Scripts intends to inform the Federal Trade Commission that the company has delivered all the data requested regarding its purchase of Medco Health Solutions on Friday, which will trigger a 30-day period for a decision from the FTC.

Express Scripts declined to comment for the story, Bloomberg added.

According to the report, in those 30 days the agency must approve the deal, sue to block the merger or negotiate a settlement. Express Scripts and the FTC can also mutually agree to extend that 30-day deadline.

For the full story, click here.
 

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FDA panel votes not to support Eisai, Astex cancer drug

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN, Calif. — An expert panel at the Food and Drug Administration has given a thumbs-down to a drug made by Astex Pharmaceuticals and Eisai for which the two had sought approval as a treatment for leukemia.

The FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10-3 with one abstention not to support the risk-benefit profile of Dacogen (decitabine) in certain elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia. The FDA is not bound by advisory committee votes when deciding whether or not to approve a drug, but usually follows them.

The FDA is expected to reach a decision on the drug by March 6, the companies said.


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GPhA testifies before House subcommittee on generic user fees

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The generic drug industry’s main lobby is hoping Congress will act on a proposed user fee program for generic drugs that it helped negotiate with the Food and Drug Administration.

Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Thursday, Generic Pharmaceutical Association VP regulatory sciences David Gaugh said the generic drug user fee programs would "help to ensure that American consumers continue to receive the significant cost savings from generics that, over the past dozen years, have provided more than $1 trillion in savings to the nation’s healthcare system."

"The generic industry has stepped up to the plate to do our part to help ensure U.S. drug safety, establish a more level playing field among all participants in the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain and significantly reduce the time needed to commercialize a generic drug," Gaugh said.

Heather Bresch, CEO of Pittsburgh-based generic drug maker Mylan, also testified before the subcommittee in favor of generic drug user fees. "Every consumer should have the peace of mind in knowing that every prescription, brand or generic, dispensed in the United States, is held to the same standard of quality regardless of whether the product or its ingredients originated in the [United States] or outside its borders. With a mission to protect and promote the public health, the [FDA] has a critical responsibility, along with industry, to ensure the safety, efficacy and security of the U.S. drug supply," Bresch said in her testimony.

"Unfortunately, [the] FDA is still operating as a domestic agency, under a 1938 law that has remained largely unchanged despite globalization of the industry, which has left it without the resources or legal authority to regulate the global drug supply that now serves the U.S. market. Just as the pharmaceutical industry has become global in order to meet its mission, so too must [the] FDA," Bresch added.

Generic drug user fees have long been a goal for the generics industry and are seen as a way to help reduce the FDA’s large backlog of generic drug applications.

 


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