PHARMACY

FDA warns public about chance of pain from bisphosphonates

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to health care professionals and patients regarding the possibility of severe and sometimes incapacitating bone, joint and/or muscle pain in patients taking bisphosphonates.

The drugs in this class of drugs include: Actonel, Actonel+Ca, Aredia, Boniva, Fosamax, Fosamax+D, Reclast, Skelid and Zometa. Severe muscle pain is included in the prescribing information for all bisphosphonates, but it may be overlooked by health care professionals leading to the use of analgesics to resolve the problem.

The severe musculoskeletal pain may occur within days, months or years after starting bisphosphonates. Some patients have reported complete relief of symptoms after discontinuing the bisphosphonate, whereas others have reported slow or incomplete resolution.

The FDA is warning health care professionals to consider whether to temporarily or permanently discontinue prescribing the drugs to their patients.

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Pfizer eyes other large pharmaceutical companies for acquisitions

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer’s CEO said his company wants to expand its portfolio of acquired companies, and no company is too big, according to published reports.

Jeff Kindler told the Financial Times that the drug maker would consider purchasing a large stake in a major pharmaceutical company to increase its revenues. Some have speculated that this could mean a purchase of Amgen or Gilead Sciences or a merger with a larger company such as Bristol-Myers Squibb or Wyeth.

The company’s profits are in danger of falling in 2011, when the blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) becomes open to generic competition. The drug has annual sales of about $13 billion.

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Escalon acquires Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings’ hematology division

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA A Philadelphia-area company that makes medical and diagnostic equipment has acquired a British in vitro diagnostics company’s hematology division.

Escalon Medical Corp., based in Wayne, Pa., acquired Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings’ hematology for $5.9 million Friday, according to published reports.

Neither company had posted a statement about the deal for the press on its Web site Monday.

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