PHARMACY

Reports: Analysis finds steep rise in ADHD diagnoses among children

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — More than one-tenth of school-age children and nearly one-fifth of high school boys in the United States have received a diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to published reports.

The New York Times reported that the dramatic rise in the number of children diagnosed with ADHD over the last decade could lead to concern of over-diagnosis of the condition, as well as overuse of medications to treat it. The Times based its report on an analysis of raw data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s study was based on telephone interviews with more than 76,000 parents from between February 2011 and June 2012. According to the figures, about 6.4 million children ages 4 years through 17 years had been diagnosed with ADHD at some point, with the figure increasing by 16% since 2007 and 53% over the last decade. About two-thirds of children diagnosed had received a prescription for a drug to treat it. A map included with the Times story showed most of the diagnoses to be concentrated in the South and Midwest.

 

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PHARMACY

Centene purchases specialty pharmacy AcariaHealth

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — Centene Corp. has purchased specialty pharmacy provider AcariaHealth for a combination of cash and stock, Centene said Tuesday.

Monday’s purchase of AcariaHealth, formally known as Specialty Therapeutic Care Holdings, was financed through a combination of 1.7 million shares of Centene stock, cash and up to $15.3 million of Centene stock from an equity offering related to funding.

Centene said it expected the acquisition to be neutral to earnings per share in the first 12 months, and that it was working with AcariaHealth to ensure a seamless transition for customers and others.

 

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Federal court rules in favor of Actavis in generic asthma drug case

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — A court has ruled in favor of generic drug maker Actavis concerning its generic version of a drug to treat asthma in children, the company said.

Actavis said the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey had ruled Actavis’ generic version of AstraZeneca’s Pulmicort Respules (budesonide inhalation suspension) in the 0.25-mg, 0.5-mg and 1-mg strengths did not infringe one of AstraZeneca’s patents on the drug, while another patent covering the drug was invalid. Actavis’ generic versions of the first two strengths for the drug received Food and Drug Administration approval in August 2012, while the 1-mg strength is still awaiting approval.

Pulmicort Respules is used as a maintenance medicine to control and prevent asthma symptoms in children ages 12 months to 8 years. Various versions of the drug had sales of about $1.2 billion during the 12-month period that ended in January, Actavis said.

 

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