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WHO prequalification programme for APIs

The WHO initiated on 21 October 2010 a pilot prequalification programme for selected active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in drugs for HIV and related diseases, antimalaria and anti-tuberculosis medications.

FDA considering tighter controls on generics

The FDA may tighten standards for how closely generic drugs resemble brand-name equivalents. This comes as a result of complaints from both patients and employees of generic drugmakers that some of the medicines do not work as well as the originals.

Generic combination antibiotic launched in US

On 26 October 2010, Hospira announced the launch of its combination antibiotic (piperacillin and tazobactam) for injection in the US. The medication is a generic version of Zosyn, the world’s leading injectable antibiotic, from Pfizer (Wyeth). Piperacillin and tazobactam injection posted sales in the US in 2009 of more than US$855 million.

Tackling counterfeit drugs in China

The Chinese State Council, or cabinet, said on 19 October 2010 it would “launch a special campaign to fight intellectual property rights infringement and the manufacture and sale of counterfeit goods” at a meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. The six-month campaign, which includes making sure government organisations use genuine software, will begin at the end of October 2010, said the State Council.

India’s top pharma company strengthens ties with South Africa

Generics’ manufacturer Cipla is a prominent Indian pharmaceutical company, best known outside its home country for manufacturing low-cost anti-AIDS drugs for HIV-positive patients in developing countries. Cipla exports to 170 countries and its manufacturing facilities are approved by WHO, US FDA, UK MHRA and other major agencies. Cipla was responsible for lowering the cost of triple therapy antiretroviral (ARV) to less than US$1 per day and is, in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, to supply ARVs to third world countries.

A view from South Africa

Aspen Pharmacare, Africa’s biggest generic drugs company, reported a 24% rise in full-year profit at the end of June 2010, boosted by its South African unit, and says it expects strong demand in the coming year.

Apotex loses fight over Plavix patents

Apotex was told to pay sanofi-aventis (sanofi) and Bristol-Meyers Squibb (BMS) a whopping US$442 million (plus interest) for violating patents on the blockbuster blood-thinner Plavix (clopidogrel bisulphate).

FDA grants approval for generic lansoprazole

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced on 18 October 2010 that it had received FDA approval for its Abbreviated New Drug Application for its generic version of Takeda's Prevacid (lansoprazole) SoluTab.

Teva brings another action against Mylan

In October 2009, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries filed a lawsuit against Mylan for infringement of multiple patents, with respect to patents on its glatiramer acetate drug–Copaxone. The patents cover pharmaceutical compositions containing it, methods of using it and processes for making it. Those patents expire in May 2014 and September 2015. No trial date is scheduled.

Ranbaxy beats Teva to Alzheimer’s drug

Aricept (donepezil hydrochloride), Eisai Pharmaceutical’s biggest selling drug, comes off patent in the US in November 2010. Thereafter donepezil hydrochloride may be sold as a generic drug. Teva has applied to sell donepezil, but the FDA granted Ranbaxy first access to the lucrative market in a letter dated 17 September 2010.

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