PHARMACY

Forest, Merz announce Namenda patent settlements

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Several generic drug makers have settled with Forest Labs and German drug maker Merz Pharma GmbH & Co. concerning a drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Forest and Merz said Thursday.

The two drug makers announced a settlement with Mylan, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Reddy’s Labs, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Upsher-Smith Labs regarding patent infringement litigation over the immediate-release formulation of the drug Namenda (memantine hydrochloride).

Under the agreements, the first generic versions of Namenda will appear in January 2015. The drug’s patent expires in April of that year.

Namenda had sales of $1.2 billion during the 12-month period ended in March, according to IMS Health.

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Reaching out to new CMS administrator Berwick, NACDS highlights pro-patient, pro-pharmacy goals

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is moving quickly to establish a working relationship with newly installed Medicare and Medicaid chief Donald Berwick.

NACDS on Wednesday sent a letter to Berwick, who was tapped by President Obama to serve as the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson urged continued collaboration with CMS on issues related to pharmacy that he said are vital to quality health care and cost reduction.

“NACDS and its member companies are committed to improving patient adherence to their prescription drug regimens,” Anderson told Berwick. “We strongly believe that access to neighborhood pharmacies and pharmacist-provided care can improve health outcomes for patients and reduce costs.”

Anderson also pointed to issues of major concern to retail pharmacy, including fair reimbursement for prescription and pharmacy services, pharmacy’s role in a medical home and the prevention of fraud, waste and abuse. He pledged NACDS’ support in working with the new CMS chief on ongoing efforts to reduce fraud and waste in the healthcare system.

“We look forward to working with you on these and other issues that impact chain pharmacies and the patients they serve,” the letter concluded.

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Eli Lilly acquires Alnara

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS Drug maker Eli Lilly has finished its acquisition of a company developing a pancreatic disorder treatment.

Lilly announced Tuesday that it had finished acquiring Alnara Pharmaceuticals, a privately held company, in a deal announced July 2. Lilly acquired Alnara for an upfront payment of $180 million, and Alnara stockholders could receive up to $200 million in additional milestone payments based on product performance.

Alnara is developing liprotamase, a pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy under review by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, a disease resulting from cystic fibrosis, removal of the pancreas, chronic pancreatitis and other conditions.

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