HEALTH

Valeant to buy iNova for up to A$700 million

BY Alaric DeArment

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Canadian drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is acquiring an Australian drug maker for up to A$700 million, Valeant said.

Valeant announced that it would acquire iNova, which sells and distributes prescription and OTC drugs in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and South Africa, from iNova’s current shareholders, Archer Capital, Ironbridge and others.

Valeant will pay iNova shareholders A$625 upfront and up to A$75 million in milestones.

 


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Perrigo names M&A vet to corporate development post

BY Michael Johnsen

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Perrigo on Monday named Christopher Roop to the post of VP corporate development. In this role, Roop will be responsible for identifying, evaluating and pursuing acquisition targets that complement the company’s strategic growth objectives.

Roop joins Perrigo from the investment banking industry, where he spent several years advising healthcare companies on mergers and acquisitions. With a focus on pharmaceutical company clients, Roop played a central role in all aspects of advisory assignments, including idea generation, valuation, due diligence and transaction negotiations.

Roop earned both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He and his wife recently have relocated from New York to Grand Rapids, Mich.

 


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Study: Hand sanitizer use in schools reduces flu illness, absenteeism

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA — A hand and respiratory hygiene program including frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer helped reduce illness caused by influenza A, and reduced the number of missed school days in elementary school children, according to a study in the November issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

"Respiratory hygiene education and the regular use of hand sanitizer can be an important adjunct to influenza vaccination programs to reduce the number of influenza A infections among children," stated Samuel Stebbins of the University of Pittsburgh, author of the study.

In the study, five Pittsburgh elementary schools were assigned to receive a five-step training "cough etiquette and hand hygiene" program. In the program, called "WHACK the Flu," children were taught:

  • (W)ash or sanitize your hands often;
  • (H)ome is where you stay when you are sick;
  • (A)void touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • (C)over your coughs and sneezes; and
  • (K)eep your distance from sick people.

Another five schools received no special hygiene training. During the school year, children who developed a flu-like illness were tested to determine if they had influenza, and whether the cause was influenza A or B virus. In tests performed in 279 children with flu-like illness, 104 confirmed cases of influenza were identified.

The program was successful in getting kids to use hand sanitizer regularly. Average use was 2.4 times per day, compared with four recommended times (on arrival at school, before and after lunch, and when leaving school).

Schools assigned to "WHACK the Flu" had a significant 52% reduction in the rate of confirmed illness caused by influenza A. However, there was no significant difference in the overall rate of laboratory-confirmed influenza, or in the rate of illness caused by influenza B.

Along with the decrease in influenza A, there was a 26% reduction in total school absences. The hygiene program also was linked to possible improvements in other school attendance measures, including a lower rate of absences during flu season.

Although the "WHACK the Flu" program didn’t lower the overall influenza rate, it did achieve approximately a one-half reduction in influenza A and a one-fourth reduction in school absences. The researchers aren’t sure why there was no decrease in influenza B — possibly because of "basic differences in the biology or epidemiology" of influenza B, or because it occurred later in the flu season and mainly in younger children.

The results showed that a hygiene education program including hand sanitizer "can be implemented successfully on a large scale within urban schools to reduce absenteeism and the incidence of influenza A," Stebbins noted. He believed the study supports current recommendations for respiratory hygiene — including hand sanitizer — during any type of flu outbreak, and as part of an overall influenza prevention strategy in schools.

 


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