PHARMACY

Survey finds minority children less likely to take asthma meds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Black and Hispanic children with asthma use preventive inhalers much less than their white counterparts, but use emergency inhalers designed to stop asthma attacks more, according to a new study.

Writing in the journal Chest, Deirdre Crocker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues surveyed 1,485 black, Hispanic and white children with asthma who responded to the 2003-2004 four-state sample of the National Asthma Survey.

Analyzing the data, the authors found that twice as many black children had emergency room visits related to asthma as white children, and “significantly” fewer black and Hispanic children reported using inhaled corticosteroids than white children, calling it a “dramatic underuse” of the drugs resulting in a greater prevalence of symptoms of poorly controlled asthma. Larger percentages of black and Hispanic children – 26% and 19%, respectively – used short-acting beta-agonists designed to treat asthma attacks, compared with 12% of white children.

Factors such as economics, children’s weight and indoor smoking did not appear to affect whether the children used the inhaled corticosteroids, but the writers suggested one reason might be that the black and Hispanic children were more likely to visit the emergency room, where doctors are more likely to prescribe the short-acting inhalers than the preventive ones.

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Abbott reports Q3 results

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Drug maker Abbott reported strong sales in its third-quarter 2009 earnings report Wednesday.

The company reported an increase of 8.4% in global sales, which remained at 3.5% when factoring in the rise in the value of the dollar. Excluding the dollar’s rise, pharmaceutical sales were 3.9%, but dipped into the red, to -1.6%, when including foreign exchange rates. Nutritional and medical products had much stronger sales – 11.1% and 9.8%, respectively – when the dollar’s value was included.

“Abbott is performing well, generating higher-than-expected earnings growth in the fourth quarter,” Abbott chairman and CEO Miles White said in a statement. “During the quarter, we announced several acquisitions that support our long-term growth strategy. These acquisitions add to our diverse mix of global businesses, with new technologies, established products and emerging market infrastructure that will help us deliver sustainable industry-leading growth.”

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Mylan, Pfizer settle drug dispute

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH Generic drug manufacturer Mylan and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer have settled a dispute over Mylan’s attempt to manufacture a generic version of an antifungal drug.

Mylan announced Wednesday that it had entered a license agreement with Pfizer concerning Mylan subsidiary Matrix Labs’ voriconazole tablets in the 50-mg and 200-mg strengths, a generic version of Pfizer’s Vfend. Matrix had filed a regulatory approval application with the Food and Drug Administration; as the first company to file the application, Mylan will have the right to market its version in direct competition with Pfizer’s product for six months once the patent expires. Under the agreement, Mylan will have the right to market voriconazole tablets in the U.S. in first quarter 2011.

Vfend, used to treat yeast and other fungal infections, had sales of $164 million during the 12-month period ending June 30, according to IMS Health data.

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