PHARMACY

Teva wins patent battle over Merck’s Temodar

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Teva Pharmaceutical Industries may soon get the green light to market a generic drug for brain tumors following a federal court ruling.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware ruled Merck & Co.’s patent for the drug Temodar (temozolomide) was unenforceable on account of prosecution latches or inequitable conduct, though Merck has said it will appeal the ruling.

“We are very disappointed with the court’s ruling, and we continue to believe the patent for Temodar in the U.S. is valid and enforceable,” Merck EVP and general counsel Bruce Kuhlik said. “Today’s decision reflects a step in the lengthy patent litigation process, and we plan to appeal this decision.”

Temodar had sales of $278 million in third quarter 2009, according to financial reports by Schering-Plough Corp., the original maker of Temodar that Merck acquired last year. Teva is seeking approval for the drug in the 5, 20, 100, 140, 180 and 250 mg strengths. The drug is a chemotherapy agent used to treat newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme and refractory anaplastic astrocytoma, two forms of brain cancer.

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PHARMACY

Report; N.Y. seeks to prohibit doctors from accepting gifts from drug companies

BY Alaric DeArment

ALBANY, N.Y. New York Gov. David Paterson hopes to put an end to gifts from drug companies to doctors, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that Paterson proposed legislation that would prohibit drug makers from giving doctors such gifts as pens and free meals to persuade them to prescribe their drugs. Drug companies that violated the ban would be fined between $15,000 and $250,000, while healthcare professionals would be fined $5,000 to $10,000. Nine states so far have laws on the books that prohibit the practice.

According to the AP article, patient-advocacy organizations such as AARP are supporting the legislation, while the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents the branded drug industry, opposes it.

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Acorda appoints EVP commercial development

BY Alaric DeArment

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. The founder of a consulting firm has joined the executive board of Acorda Therapeutics, the drug maker announced Monday.

Lauren Sabella will work as Acorda’s EVP commercial development, reporting to president and CEO Ron Cohen and assuming responsibility for Acorda’s commercial operations such as marketing, sales and managed markets.

Before working for Acorda, Sabella was founder and principal of Tugboat Consulting Group, which assisted companies in commercialization. She also worked as VP commercial development for Altus Pharmaceuticals and served in various positions at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaeuticals for 18 years.

“I’m delighted to welcome Lauren Sabella to Acorda’s management team,” Cohen said. “Lauren has an impressive record of achievement in the pharmaceutical industry, including responsibility for launching and managing several high-performing products.”

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