PHARMACY

Texas court overturns $26 million Vioxx verdict

BY Drew Buono

HOUSTON The 14th Texas Court of Appeals has overturned a $26 million verdict in favor of the widow of a 59-year-old man who died due to the use of Merck’s painkiller Vioxx, according to published reports.

The appeals court said that there was insufficient evidence in the first case used to prove the drug caused the man’s heart problem and death. Houston appellate court Chief Justice Adele Hedges wrote for a three-judge panel that studies support the conclusion that “Vioxx use at a certain dose and duration is associated with risk of thrombotic cardiac event.” But, she wrote, the expert evidence in the Bob Ernst trial was nothing more than conjecture that an undiscovered blood clot caused the man’s death after he took the drug for less than nine months.

This was the first Vioxx case that went to trial and originally the court awarded the widow, Carol Ernst, $253 million, but because of Texas law, the court reduced it to $26.1 million. Ernst plans to appeal the case and her lawyer said he would take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed.

This case is separate from the $4.8 billion settlement that Merck is currently involved in with thousands of plaintiffs over Vioxx.

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PHARMACY

Bystolic fulfills pharmacists’ desire for a new beta-blocker

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Forest Laboratories and Mylan’s new, once-daily hypertension drug Bystolic now is available in pharmacies nationwide.

A recent survey showed that out of 20,000 retail pharmacists, 78 percent felt there was a need for a beta-blocker with an improved tolerability profile.

More than 2,000 people received Bystolic (nebivolol) during clinical trials. The drug’s efficacy was similar to that of other approved beta-blockers, the FDA said. The most common reported side effects were headache, fatigue, dizziness and diarrhea.

Hypertension affects about 72 million adults in America.

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PHARMACY

Tenn. pharmacy school receives $600,000 grant

BY Drew Buono

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Lipscomb University has received a $600,000 grant from The Memorial Foundation to support the school’s new $10.1 million pharmacy school, which will receive its first class in August, according to published reports. The Lipscomb College of Pharmacy has accepted 75 students in its first class.

The money will be used to build three patient support laboratories where students will learn to compound and prepare drugs, carry out experiments and examine and assess patients.

The school will be located in the Burton Health Sciences Center. In honor of the foundation’s grant the labs will be named The Memorial Foundation Pharmacy Practice Center.

“We believe it is a good investment for the community and for those students who want to prepare for a career in pharmacy,” said J.D. Elliott, president of The Memorial Foundation.

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