PHARMACY

Six pharmacy retailers recognized for diversity business opportunities

BY Michael Johnsen

SOUTHPORT, Conn. — Walmart ranked No. 1 out of six retail pharmacy operators who were identified as part of the “Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities" by DiversityBusiness.com last week. Other pharmacy retailers on the list included, in order, Kroger, Supervalu, Target, Walgreens and Ahold USA.

“The diversity practices of the Div50 has changed the course of economic inclusion and thereby the world as we know it,” stated Kenton Clarke, CEO of DiversityBusiness.com. The 12th annual list was produced by DiversityBusiness.com, a multicultural B2B online website. More than 1.2 million diversity-owned businesses (women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native American and other multicultural groups) were asked to answer 10 questions about diversity business in the marketplace. Their answers were based on such factors as volume, consistency and quality business opportunities granted to women and minority-owned companies.

The winning companies will be honored during a special awards ceremony at DiversityBusiness.com’s 12th Annual Multicultural Business Conference, taking place April 25 to April 27, 2012, at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

For the full list, click here.

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PHARMACY

Perrigo files for approval of generic nasal allergy drug

BY Alaric DeArment

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Perrigo is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a drug used to treat allergies in adolescents and adults, the company said Monday.

Perrigo announced that it filed a regulatory application with the FDA for azelastine hydrochloride nasal spray in the 0.15% strength. The drug is a generic version of Meda Pharmaceuticals’ Astepro, used to treat nasal symptoms caused by seasonal allergies and environmental irritants in patients ages 12 years and older. Impax Labs has contributed to the filing as well, and both companies plan to share costs and benefits.

Meda filed suit against Perrigo last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in response to the filing, alleging patent infringement. The drug has sales of $114 million per year, according to Wolters Kluwer Health.


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FDA panel gives thumbs down to Columbia Labs reproductive drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — A panel of experts at the Food and Drug Administration has declined to recommend approval for a topical drug for preventing premature birth in pregnant women, the drug’s manufacturers said.

Columbia Labs and Watson Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee did not recommend approval for progesterone vaginal gel in the 8% strength. The drug is designed to reduce the risk of preterm birth in women with short uterine cervical length in the middle trimester of pregnancy.

The FDA takes advisory committees’ recommendations into account when deciding whether to approve a drug, and while the recommendations are not binding, the agency doesn’t usually go against them. The FDA’s Division of Reproductive and Urologic Products is expected to take action on the drug by Feb. 26. Nevertheless, Columbia president and CEO Frank Condella said the company was confident that a late-stage clinical trial of the drug showed it to be safe and effective.


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