PHARMACY

Shire: Intuniv users experience ‘significant’ improvements with ADHD symptoms

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW ORLEANS British drug maker Shire presented late-stage clinical study data at a psychiatric meeting Friday indicating that administration of one of its drugs along with stimulants provided symptom relief in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Shire said that patients ages 6 to 17 years given the drug Intuniv (guanfacine) along with stimulants experienced “significant” symptom improvement compared with those taking placebo. The 455 patients in the phase 3 study were given Intuniv in the morning, in the evening or placebo plus stimulants.

“A considerable number of pediatric patients with ADHD experience a suboptimal response to stimulant treatment for their ADHD,” study leader and Harvard Medical School medical professor Timothy Wilens said in a statement. “We hope that these new data from a large multisite controlled study evaluating the efficacy and safety of extended-release guanfacine co-administered with stimulants for the treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents will be helpful to clinicians in the management of their patients with ADHD.”

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PHARMACY

Asda to sell cancer drugs on ‘not-for-profit’ basis

BY Alaric DeArment

LEEDS, U.K. A retailer in the United Kingdom said Thursday it would become the first to sell cancer drugs to customers at cost.

Asda, one of the country’s largest retailers and a division of Walmart, said it would sell the drugs on a “not-for-profit” basis. For example, AstraZeneca’s lung cancer drug Iressa (gefitinib) will sell for $3,112.73, compared with prices ranging from more than $3,734.92 to $4,671.97 at other retailers, based on present currency exchange rates.

“The crippling cost of paying privately for cancer treatments has forced many people to spend their savings or even re-mortgage their house to pay for these essential drugs,” Asda superintendent pharmacist John Evans said. “We are the first retailer to recognize this injustice and to do something about it, and we are calling on other retailers to follow our lead.”

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Salix receives patent for IBS treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent to Salix Pharmaceuticals for a drug to treat irritable bowel syndrome, Salix said Thursday.

The patent, 7,718,608, will protect the drug Xifaxan (rifaximin) until August 2019. Salix is producing and marketing the drug under license from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“The issuance of the ‘608 patent is yet another example of how we have strengthened the intellectual property protection for rifaximin over the past 18 months,” Salix CEO Carolyn Logan said. “We view patent protection as an essential component of our product life-cycle management strategy to protect the indications in development as well as the products in our portfolio.”

Salix’s announcement comes the day after Soligenix received a patent for beclomethasone dipropionate, also for IBS.

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