HEALTH

SDI: Rx antivirals are booming due to swine flu outbreak

BY Michael Johnsen

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. For all the consternation generated around fears of an H1N1 pandemic, sales of prescription antivirals are booming. SDI’s Vector One: National shows that for the week ended May 1, the number of new antiviral prescriptions dispensed at retail pharmacies was 277,196 — more than 19 times higher than the prior week.

“The number of new antiviral prescriptions last week was nearly double that of new antiviral prescriptions during the peak of the 2008-2009 flu season,” SDI noted.

According to SDI’s Sentinel Laboratory Network, which monitors circulating strains of influenza by tracking influenza type, location and patient age groups infected, the peak of this most recent flu season was during the week of March 7. The weeks before and after showed new prescriptions ranging from approximately 150,000 to a high of nearly 155,000 during the week ending Feb. 27.

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MannKind has dip in profit, flat sales

BY Alaric DeArment

VALENCIA, Calif. A drug company focused on developing drugs for diabetes and cancer reported a reduction in operating, research and development and general and administrative expenses of more than $32 million in its first quarter 2009 financial results Monday.

MannKind Corp. said the decrease in research and development expenses, by $15.6 million, was primarily due to decreased costs associated with the clinical development of the fast-acting insulin Afresa.

Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities were $30.2 million as of March 31, compared with $46.5 million on Dec. 31 and $269.1 million on March 31, 2008.

“This past quarter was extremely busy for MannKind, culminating in our submission to the FDA of a new drug application for Afresa.” chairman and CEO Alfred Mann said in a statement. “With this milestone accomplished, we are now turning our attention to commercial readiness activities.”

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Swine flu tally continues to climb

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Monday morning updated its tally of confirmed H1N1 flu cases, formerly known as the swine flu.

To date, there are 286 confirmed cases across 36 states in the United States, with one death in Texas.

The CDC also announced it had been scheduled to complete deployment of 25% of the supplies in the Strategic National Stockpile to all states in the continental United States.

“These supplies and medicines will help states and U.S. territories respond to the outbreak,” the CDC stated. “In addition, the federal government and manufacturers have begun the process of developing a vaccine against the novel H1N1 flu virus.”

The list of states with confirmed cases (with number of cases in parentheses) are: Alabama (4), Arizona (17), California (30), Colorado (7), Connecticut (2), Delaware (20), Florida (5), Idaho (1), Illinois (8), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kansas (2), Kentucky (1, though the patient is hospitalized in Georgia), Louisiana (14), Maryland (4), Massachusetts (6), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), Nebraska (1), Nevada (1), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (7), New Mexico (1), New York (73), North Carolina (1), Ohio (3), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (15), Tennessee (1), Texas (41, with one confirmed death), Utah (1), Virginia (3) and Wisconsin (3).

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