PHARMACY

Studies show Januvia and metformin work better in combination

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Data from five studies presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes showed that a combination of Merck’s drug Januvia and metformin improved blood-sugar levels over two years of treatment and was well-tolerated, Merck announced Tuesday.

Januvia, known generically as sitagliptin, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in October 2006 for treating adults with Type 2 diabetes, but not Type 1 diabetes.

The base study looked at 412 patients over a year and then included them in an all-patients-treated analysis of efficacy over the next year. Januvia combined with metformin were found to control blood sugar better than either drug alone.

Metformin is the generic name of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Glucophage.

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PHARMACY

Generics to drive worldwide pharmaceutical growth

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN JOSE, Calif. Growth in various sectors of the pharmaceutical industry is expected to come from Brazil, Russia, India and China the so-called B.R.I.C. countries according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts.

In the Asia-Pacific region in particular, government restrictions on healthcare spending and low discretionary spending power among the population is increasing sales of low-cost generic drugs, while China has emerged as a region with potentially vast opportunities for global marketplace majors.

Across various countries, the generic drugs market is seeing rapid growth thanks to the need for drugs that can save lives while remaining cost-effective. This is attracting multinational companies into production and marketing of generic versions of branded drugs. Many consumers in developing countries are gaining access to drugs previously out of bounds for them, though many of the drugs violate patents, according to the report, titled “Pharmaceuticals: A Growing Outlook.”

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FDA panel votes in favor of Pfizer’s Fablyn

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The benefits of Pfizer’s osteoporosis drug Fablyn outweigh its risks, a Food and Drug Administration panel said, recommending the drug for postmenopausal women in a 9-3 vote Monday.

The advisers on the panel said they could not determine whether deaths among patients using the drug were a statistically significant increase over deaths among those receiving a placebo.

But, they said, the decision was neither a clear rejection of the drug nor a clear endorsement.

Pfizer had maintained that numbers showing an increase in deaths among patients using the drug, known generically as lasofoxifene tartrate, were not statistically significant.

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