PHARMACY

Report: PhRMA backs healthcare reform

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Most of the groups supporting President Obama’s healthcare reform plan have been patient advocates such as AARP, but the effort recently got some help from a different and traditionally conservative source: the drug industry.

Advertising Age reported Thursday that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the largest trade group for the brand drug industry, will set aside $150 million for an advertising campaign in support of healthcare reform, including TV ads in 12 key states, as well as radio and print ads. An executive from PhRMA told the advertising industry trade magazine that the ads would focus on ensuring that everyone has access to health insurance, including affordable co-payments and no denials based on pre-existing conditions.

The healthcare reform debate has turned contentious in recent weeks, with townhall meetings across the country disrupted by loud protests from opponents of reform who think it will harm healthcare more than it helps and will damage the economy.

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Study finds link between radiation therapy in children, diabetes

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Children with cancer who undergo a common cancer therapy may be at increased risk of developing diabetes, according to research published recently in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at Emory University found that childhood cancer survivors who had received total-body or abdominal radiation therapy had increased risk of developing cancer, with the risk increasing more than twofold if they received a cancer diagnosis before age 5, compared with those diagnosed in late adolescence. Out of a total of 8,599 survivors diagnosed before age 21, 2.5% developed diabetes, compared with 1.7% of their 2,936 siblings, apparently regardless of body mass index.

“It is likely that this additional chronic disease in childhood cancer survivors, who frequently also sustain damage to the heart, kidneys and endocrine system, will lead to further morbidity and premature mortality,” the authors of the study wrote. “Therefore, it is imperative that clinicians recognize this risk, screen for diabetes and prediabetes when appropriate and approach survivors with aggressive risk-reducing strategies.”

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PHARMACY

Sun sets on company’s acquisition of Taro

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India Indian generic drug maker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries’ tender offer to acquire Israeli drug maker Taro Pharmaceutical Industries has expired, Sun announced Thursday.

Sun said it plans to renew its offer to buy the company through subsidiary Alkaloida Chemical Co. Exclusive Group, but the offer is subject to an order issued by the Supreme Court of Israel prohibiting its closing until the court resolves litigation against Alkaloida by Taro concerning the application of Israeli laws regulating mergers and acquisitions.

Sun has sought to acquire Taro since June 2008. As of Wednesday, more than 32,000 shares of Taro had been tendered.

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