PHARMACY

Teva looks at effects of Copaxone patent loss

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries anticipates that it could lose about $500 million in sales next year if a generic version of its multiple sclerosis drug hits the market, the Israeli drug maker said Tuesday.

In issuing its financial outlook for the 2014 calendar year, Teva said it expected sales of about $19.3 billion to $20.3 billion if at least two generic versions of Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) hit the U.S. market in June, or $19.8 billion to $20.8 billion if they don’t. Mylan and Momenta Pharmaceuticals are among the companies hoping to launch a generic version of the drug, but Teva said its sales would see a $78 million benefit for every month the launch of a generic version was delayed.

"2014 will be a pivotal year for Teva and a year of major transitions across the company," acting president and CEO Eyal Desheh said. "We will continue to make significant progress in implementing our strategy."

Generic drugs, from which Teva derives most of its revenue, are expected to have overall sales of $9.8 billion to$10.5 billion. Copaxone had sales of $3.6 billion in 2012, according to IMS Health.

 

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FDA advisory committee recommends approval for Takeda’s vedolizumab

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. — An expert panel at the Food and Drug Administration has given a thumbs-up to an experimental drug made by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. for treating ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the drug maker said.

Takeda said the FDA’s Gastrointestinal Drugs and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee voted in favor of approval for vedolizumab in adults with moderately to severely active UC or Crohn’s. A favorable advisory committee vote does not guarantee FDA approval of a drug, but the agency usually follows the votes when deciding whether or not to grant approval.

"People with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease are in need of additional treatment options, as many patients lose response to currently available treatments," Takeda VP general medicine Asit Parikh said. "Vedolizumab was designed to treat inflammation of the [gastrointestinal] tract and, if approved, may offer an additional option for patients suffering from ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease."

 

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Study: Despite understanding flu’s seriousness, misconceptions remain

BY Alaric DeArment

BETHESDA, Md. — Only a quarter of respondents to a new survey would call a doctor for advice when someone at home has the flu, despite widespread recognition of it as serious and of the need for vaccination.

The study, conducted by the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, found that 93% of adults understand the flu is serious, while 87% understand it’s highly contagious, and 66% understand the need for vaccination. The study included a national survey of 1,000 adults and surveys of 500 adults in 10 states, collected between Aug. 6 and Aug. 28.

"It is reassuring that individuals recognize the importance of receiving an annual vaccination, but that’s not enough," NFID medical director Susan Rehm said. "To help keep influenza out of homes, schools and workplaces, everyone needs to get vaccinated and know to contact a doctor at the first sign of flu symptoms."

But there was confusion about when it was contagious and how to treat it. For example, 44% of respondents thought they could treat it with antibiotics, while 48% thought the flu vaccine would treat it. Meanwhile, 41% didn’t know it’s contagious before symptoms start, and 59% don’t know there are prescription drugs to treat it.

 

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