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Pharmaceutical Industry

June 18, 2008 | DAVID LAZARUS
Last week's column on California legislation that would allow drugstores to share people's prescription-drug records with mass-mailers clearly struck a chord with readers. And I'm glad to say it resonated with lawmakers as well. The bill -- SB 1096, written by state Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) -- was approved by the Senate on May 29. But it hit a brick wall Tuesday when it failed to garner a single vote of support in the Assembly Health Committee.
May 6, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Drug maker Merck is cutting 1,200 sales jobs in the U.S. following a week of regulatory setbacks for two of its drug candidates. The job cuts follow Food and Drug Administration rejections for the company's proposed allergy drug combining the active ingredients of Merck's Singulair and Schering-Plough Corp.'s Claritin. The FDA also rejected the company's developing cholesterol drug Cordaptive, while publicly demanding the company clean up problems at its main vaccine plant.
March 25, 2008 | Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writer
News of as many as 19 deaths in the United States linked to contaminated blood thinner heparin from China has generated new concerns about how to keep bad drugs from finding their way into the marketplace. But if California's 5-year-old effort to fight counterfeit drugs is a guide, the task may be tougher than it looks.
You'd probably be interested in a drug that'll keep you peppy even when you're running on fumes. How about a drug that can cause depression, anxiety, hallucinations, psychosis, mania and suicidal thoughts? How about chest pain, sores or serious rashes? You had to sift through the fine print of full-page newspaper ads that ran coast to coast last week to learn that these drugs are one and the same. The ads were for Provigil, which its maker, Cephalon Inc.
February 5, 2008 | From Reuters
Amgen Inc. said Monday that it had agreed to sell the rights to 13 of its experimental drugs to Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. in a bid to defray costs and generate cash as sales of its biggest-selling anemia drug slow amid safety concerns. Under the agreement, Takeda, Japan's largest pharmaceutical company, will pay Amgen $200 million up front and as much as $702 million more if key development milestones are met.
December 18, 2007 | From Times Wire Services
Drug developer Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said it would sell its medical imaging unit to private equity firm Avista Capital Partners for about $525 million. The unit makes and sells medical imaging products used in ultrasound and diagnostic procedures. It went on sale this month when the New York-based company announced restructuring moves.
December 4, 2007 | From Times Wire Services
The Food and Drug Administration will ask outside experts Wednesday whether Genentech Inc.'s Avastin should be approved to treat breast cancer, despite mixed results in company studies. After reviewing the South San Francisco firm's data, the agency said patients on Avastin and chemotherapy had slower cancer progression but did not survive longer overall than patients on chemotherapy alone. Shares of Genentech fell $2.75, or 3.6%, to $73.50.
December 2, 2007 | David Willman, Times Staff Writer
Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the subsequent anthrax mailings, top U.S. science advisors said the country "urgently needed" a new, improved anthrax vaccine. The existing vaccine often caused swollen arms and muscle and joint pain. Inoculation required six injections over 18 months, followed by yearly booster shots. The estimated shelf life was just three years.
November 22, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
GlaxoSmithKline will buy heart drug specialist Reliant Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $1.65 billion in cash, the company said. GSK expects the transaction will add to earnings in 2008 and create additional value in following years. Privately held Reliant develops specialty medicines combating heart disease and holds U.S. rights to Lovaza, a treatment for adult patients with very high levels of triglycerides.
November 20, 2007 | From Bloomberg News
Allergan Inc., the maker of the glaucoma treatment Lumigan, sued seven companies it said were improperly selling related products as ways to grow eyelashes. The companies sell cosmetics with names such as MassiveLash, DermaLash, Luxette, Age Intervention and MD Lash Factor, Allergan said Nov. 7 in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. All contain compounds called prostaglandins and infringe a patent for using the substance to grow eyelashes, the company said.
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