PHARMACY

Report: R.I. bill banning tobacco sales faces backlash

BY Antoinette Alexander

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — On the heels of CVS Health’s decision to pull tobacco from its shelves, a bill sponsored by Rep. Katherine Kazarian, D-East Providence, that would ban pharmacies statewide from selling tobacco products is facing some headwinds from independent pharmacies, according to a local news report.

According to the Providence Journal, independent pharmacies oppose the bill, arguing that they wouldn’t be able to survive without the sales. There are fewer than 20 independent pharmacies in the state.

Meanwhile, health advocates praise the effort. During a hearing Tuesday before the House Corporations Committee, health advocates argued that selling tobacco products and prescriptions under the same roof sends a mixed message.
 

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Teva’s ProAir RespiClick granted FDA approval

BY Ryan Chavis

JERUSALEM — The Food and Drug Administration has approved Teva Pharmaceutical’s ProAir RespiClick (albuterol sulfate) inhalation powder, the company announced on Wednesday. The inhaler is used to treat or prevent bronchospasm (asthma) in patients 12 years of age and older who have reversible obstructive airway disease. It’s also indicated to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm in patients 12 years of age and older. Teva said it expects the product to be available to patients during second-quarter 2015.
 
“ProAir RespiClick is the first and only breath-actuated, dry-powder rescue inhaler to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of acute asthma symptoms,” said Dr. David Bernstein of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology. “The approval of ProAir RespiClick is significant as it eliminates the need for hand-breath coordination during inhalation.”
 
The FDA’s approval was based on a program consisting of eight clinical trials that evaluated the inhaler’s safety and efficacy in both adults and adolescents who had asthma and EIB. The results showed the inhaler to be safe and effective with side effects consistent with ones seen with previous albuterol inhalers, Teva said, adding that the most commons adverse events in greater than 1% of patients (compared to placebo) were back pain, body aches and pains, upset stomach, sinus headache and urinary tract infection.
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Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories acquires UCB portfolio

BY Michael Johnsen

HYDERABAD, India — Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories on Wednesday announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a select portfolio of the established products business of UCB, in the territories of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives. 
 
“The acquired UCB portfolio shall accelerate Dr. Reddy’s presence in the high growth areas of dermatology, respiratory and pediatrics with market leading brands like Atarax, Nootropil, Zyrtec, Xyzal, Xyzal M, etc.,” said Alok Sonig, SVP and India business head for Dr. Reddy's. 
 
“UCB is in a strong position with a solid platform for continuous growth thanks to our core products and our promising pipeline," said Mark McDade, UCB COO. "This position allows us to enhance our focus on our key neurology portfolio in India, providing innovative solutions to patients living with severe diseases.” 
 
The transaction is expected to be closed in the first quarter of the financial year 2015-16.
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