PHARMACY

Mylan enters into agreement with UCB over Keppra litigation

BY Drew Buono

PITTSBURGH Mylan has entered into an agreement with UCB to settle pending litigation involving UCB’s anti-epileptic seizure drug Keppra.

The two sides had been pending litigation since 2004 on a patent for the drug, which is set to expire on July 14, 2008. Now, Mylan receives the rights to market the 250, 500, and 750 mg strengths in the U.S. on Nov. 1, 2008.

This applies only if UCB obtains pediatric exclusivity for the drug and if Mylan can get its application approved by the Food and Drug Administration. If granted, the patent would extend until Jan. 14, 2009. But, if UCB fails to get the exclusivity Mylan could launch the generic sooner than Nov. 1.

Keppra had sales of about $742 million for the 12 months ending June 30, 2007 for the three strengths.

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FDA increases potency of levothyroxine products

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is strengthening the potency specifications for levothyroxine sodium to ensure the drug retains its potency over its entire shelf life.

The agency is increasing the specifications from a 90 to 110 percent potency range to a 95 to 105 percent range. The percent ranges were changed following concerns about the product by healthcare professionals and patients.

Data taken by the FDA showed that some of the levothyroxine products like blister packs degrade quicker than other package types. Also, some of the strengths have been shown to degrade more rapidly than others.

Manufacturers and marketers have two years to comply with the revised specification. Levothyroxine sodium products are used by over 13 million patients.

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FDA to review heart problems from osteoporosis drugs

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is looking at new safety data on reports of atrial fibrillation in patients taking bisphosphonates.

Bisphosphonates are used to treat osteoporosis. The FDA is looking into the issue after a study in the May 3rd issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reported increased rates of serious atrial fibrillation in patients taking Fosamax and Reclast.

The FDA has performed an initial review and found that there was not a large enough group of people who were at risk for atrial fibrillation and would not as of right now ask for healthcare professionals to change their prescribing habits or to tell patients to change their use of the drugs.

The agency is seeking additional data to perform an in-depth review of the issue that could take up to one year to conclude.

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