PHARMACY

Watson confirms patent challenge for generic Pataday

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Watson Pharmaceuticals has filed a regulatory approval application with the Food and Drug Administration for a generic drug for eye disease, the company said Tuesday.

Watson is seeking approval for olopatadine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution in the 0.2% strength. The drug, used to treat itching in the eye resulting from allergic conjunctivitis, is a generic version of Alcon’s Pataday.

Alcon, along with biotechnology company Kyowa Hakko Kirin, sued Watson last Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, alleging that Watson’s regulatory filing infringes two of their patents. Under the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, the FDA can’t give final approval until October 2013, or until both companies reach a settlement. The two patents are scheduled to expire between 2015 and 2024.

Pataday had sales of $224 million during the 12-month period ended in April, according to IMS Health.

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PHARMACY

Novo Nordisk tapped as premier sponsor for Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Novo Nordisk will serve as the national premier sponsor for the American Diabetes Association’s annual fundraising walk in 2011 and 2012, the ADA announced.

The drug maker, a leading company in diabetes management, will sponsor the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes for the next two years. The walk supports ADA’s mission to prevent and cure diabetes, as well as to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. As part of their involvement with the Step Out walk, Novo Nordisk also will recognize the thousands of people with diabetes who walk in the event as the national Red Strider sponsor for Step Out. Red Striders are people with diabetes that participate in the walk. In 2010, more than 22,000 people participated in the Step Out event as Red Striders.

"Sponsoring Step Out is one other important way Novo Nordisk is supporting the American Diabetes Association and its efforts to serve people living with diabetes. We’re so pleased to be a part of this national effort," Novo Nordisk corporate VP sales Andy Ajello said. "We ask that everyone — including the business community, which is actively forming employee teams across the country — join with the thousands who are walking to take steps toward fighting this disease."

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Cardinal Health, Prime Therapeutics renew distribution deal

BY Allison Cerra

DUBLIN, Ohio and ST. PAUL, Minn. — A healthcare services company will continue to serve as the primary pharmaceutical supply chain partner for a pharmacy benefit manager’s mail-order business.

Cardinal Health said it has renewed a three-year agreement with Prime Therapeutics and will continue to deliver pharmaceutical distribution services for PrimeMail, the Prime Therapeutics’ mail-order pharmacy. Prime Therapeutics currently serves nearly 17 million members through Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, employer and union groups, and third-party administrators, according to the company.

Cardinal Health also said it will continue to offer Prime Therapeutics additional supply chain optimization services to help improve the latter’s operational efficiency.

"We look forward to continuing to deliver the kind of flexible and innovative pharmaceutical distribution services that help Prime Therapeutics to efficiently and effectively serve its patients’ medication needs," said Jon Giacomin, president of Cardinal Health’s U.S. pharmaceutical distribution business. "This renewed agreement is an excellent example of our commitment to building mutually beneficial customer relationships that enable us to grow our pharmaceutical distribution business while also improving the overall costs of health care."

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