PHARMACY

Watson subsidiary receives FDA approval for generic beta-blocker

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. A subsidiary of Watson Pharmaceuticals has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for metoprolol succinate extended-release tablets USP in the 25-mg and 50-mg strengths.

Watson Labs said metoprolol succinate extended-release tablets are the generic equivalent to AstraZeneca’s Toprol XL tablets. Metoprolol succinate extended-release is a beta-blocker used to treat angina, heart failure and high blood pressure. Watson intends to launch the product immediately.

Toprol XL 25-mg and 50-mg and its generic equivalents had annual sales of approximately $628 million for the twelve months ended June 2009, according to IMS sales data.

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Asteres to debut new automated pharmacy kiosk at NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO A company that makes automated pharmacy kiosks plans to unveil its latest products at an upcoming conference.

Asteres, which makes the ScriptCenter kiosk, announced this week that it would debut ScriptCenter 24/7 Automated Pharmacy Services at the 2009 National Association of Chain Drug Stores Pharmacy & Technology Conference in Boston, which begins Saturday.

“To date, ScriptCenter has enabled retailers to reduce pharmacy hours and increase customer services,” Asteres CEO Mark de Bruin said in a statement. “The addition of 24/7 Automated Pharmacy Services will expand customer engagement opportunities and drive incremental store sales leveraging kiosk, online and cell technologies.”

The services include the Express Prescription Pickup, Prescription Drop Off Anytime, one-touch pickup for families, ScriptCenter.com and others.

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Sciele Pharma announces availability of head lice treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A new drug for treating head lice has become available from a subsidiary of a Japanese drug company.

Sciele Pharma, part of Shionogi, announced this week the availability of Ulesfia (benzyl alcohol lotion 5%). The medication kills head lice by asphyxiation without potential neurotoxic side effects, the company said.

Head lice infestation affects 6 to 12 million children between the ages of 3 and 12 every year. To breathe, head lice use breathing holes that close upon contact with most liquids, which allows them to go into suspended animation and survive for hours without respiration, but Ulesfia prevents them from closing their breathing holes, causing the insects to asphyxiate.

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