Inside these posts: Drugmakers

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U.S. warns against Abbott drug in premature babies

U.S. health officials cautioned against the use of Abbott Laboratories’ HIV drug Kaletra in premature babies because they could be at greater risk for serious and possibly fatal side effects.

In a warning issued on Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration said oral solutions of the drug given to premature babies could raise the risk of serious heart, kidney, or breathing trouble. Get the full story »

Lundbeck seeks FDA approval of epilepsy drug

Lundbeck Inc. said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will review its experimental drug for a rare epilepsy disorder.

Deerfield-based Lundbeck, the U.S. subsidiary of Denmark’s H. Lundbeck SA, said the drug, clobazam, is a therapy used to treat “seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in patients two years and older.” Known as “LGS,” the disease is typically diagnosed in childhood, the company said. Lundbeck hopes to eventually market the drug here under the trade name Onfi. Get the full story »

Abbott wins appeal of Humira patent enfringement

Abbott's Humira drug. (Handout)

Turning back a threat to sales of Abbott Laboratories’ most lucrative drug, a federal appeals court Wednesday overturned a lower court ruling that claimed the North Chicago drug giant used Johnson & Johnson’s technology to make  a blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug.

Humira is Abbott’s largest-selling product and one of the world’s top-selling drugs, generating more than $5 billion in annual sales as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis among other autoimmune disorders.

The ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Texas overturned a $1.67 billion verdict against Abbott from Marshall County. At the time of the lower court ruling last year, observers said it was known for being friendly to plaintiffs. Get the full story »

Justice Dept. takes over Abbott probe

The U.S. Justice Department plans to take the lead in lawsuits accusing Abbott Laboratories of illegally promoting anti-seizure drug Depakote for uses not approved by regulators, including dementia.

The Justice Department filed notices last week in federal court in western Virginia saying it would intervene in at least three lawsuits against Abbott that were previously confidential under laws designed to protect would-be whistleblowers who come forward with information about alleged health-care fraud. The lawsuits were made public as a result of the department’s intervention. Get the full story »

Panel: Lilly pancreas drug doesn’t work well enough

Eli Lilly & Co failed to win support from a U.S. advisory panel Wednesday for what aims to be the first drug not made from pig enzymes to help certain pancreatic patients digest food. The drug was designed to compete with Abbott Labs’ drug Creon, among others. Get the full story »

Abbott lobbying budget rises to $910,000 in 3Q

Drug and medical device maker Abbott Laboratories spent $910,000 in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on policies affecting its products. Get the full story »

FDA panel rejects Merck drug for prostate cancer

A panel of federal health experts unanimously rejected the use of Merck’s Proscar to prevent prostate cancer, saying the drug could actually raise the risk of the most serious types of tumors. Get the full story »

Novartis to cut 1,400 sales positions from U.S. unit

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG said Tuesday it will eliminate 1,400 U.S. sales jobs by Jan. 1.

The company said it will cut the jobs from the sales force of its general medicines business, as sales at that business will be hurt after the patent on its high blood pressure drug Diovan expires. Novartis said it plans to focus more resources on its primary care and specialty care businesses.

Lilly CEO sees health reform staying largely intact

The chief of drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co.  said Wednesday that he expects the bulk of this year’s  U.S. health care overhaul to remain intact despite Tuesday’s election victories by anti-overhaul Republicans.

But with Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats, Chief Executive John Lechleiter said he will lobby to overturn at least one provision of the overhaul: the creation of an independent payment advisory board tasked with controlling growth in spending by  Medicare. Get the full story »