(CBS/AP) Drug-maker AstraZeneca gambled on a study that pitted its cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor Pfizer's Lipitor. The gamble didn't pay off - Crestor proved no better at preventing arterial plaques than Lipitor.The two-year study - scheduled to be presented November 15 at an American Heart Association conference in Orlando Fla. - looked at 1,300 high-risk heart patients to see which drug was superior. Crestor was more effective at reducing coronary artery plaques - but the results were not statistically significant. That means they could have occurred by chance. The news sent AstraZeneca stocks tumbling with some financial analysts likening the study to the drug-maker shooting itself in the foot. But what do the results mean for patients on both these drugs? "It really means nothing," Dr. Howard S. Weintraub, clinical director of NYU's Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, told CBS News. "These are two excellent drugs." People expected Crestor to blow away … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Crestor compared to Lipitor in heart study: Which one won?
Last Updated Oct 9, 2008 11:54 AM EDT Teva, the generic maker, is suing AstraZeneca, the holder of the original Crestor patent, claiming that AZ is somehow infringing on rights Teva acquired to the drug back in March 2007. The Crestor patent isn't supposed to expire until 2016 -- well beyond the industry's looming patent cliff, which is why certain analysts think AZ is at least a hold right now. (Generic entrants into a branded market tend to destroy the original brand. Lipitor, which has not expired yet, is already in decline due to generic competition from dissimilar drugs.) But Teva won a battle over Crestor patent rights last year. AZ retaliated by suing Teva in July this year to stop them making a Crestor generic (and thus destroying AZ's $2.8 billion-in-revenue franchise on the anti-cholesterol drug). Now teva is back, claiming AZ is full of hot air. This old Reuters story has some good background. The challenge was expected by analysts earlier this summer. The main U.S. patent … [Read more...] about Teva Sues AstraZeneca Over Crestor: $2.8 Billion on the Line
Last Updated Nov 10, 2008 7:47 PM EST Highly encouraging results on AZ's Crestor -- AstraZeneca announced the results of its much-discussed Jupiter study at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association. Crestor reduced by 44% the risk of cardiovascular death and heart attacks in at-risk individuals, among other encouraging results. The news could be big for Crestor sales, though CEO David Brennan said it was still too early to predict the effect. At Pharmalot, Ed chatted with a cardiologist and got some insights into the study's significance. Source: PharmaTimes, CNN, Pharmalot] UK drug regulators echo Chantix suicide concerns -- The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency described 10 suicide victims who were taking Champix, the drug's European equivalent, at the time they died. The agency cautioned that the link was not certain, and that other factors may have been at work. Nevertheless, it isn't good news for Pfizer, considering the drug's track record. [Source: … [Read more...] about Pharma Roundup: AstraZeneca’s Crestor Success, Pfizer’s Chantix Problems, and More
AstraZeneca confirmed Thursday that it laid off workers Wednesday at its U.S. headquarters in Fairfax, and a spokeswoman said the company continues to look for ways to become "more efficient."Although the pharmaceutical company did not confirm the total number of job cuts, sources familiar with the situation have estimated about 50 workers were let go. The company employs 2,100 in Delaware at its corporate campus in Fairfax and at a packaging facility in Newark.It is not immediately known which departments were impacted by the layoffs.Michele Meixell, a spokeswoman with AstraZeneca, said the company is reducing some business teams and expanding others. She did not say which units are being cut."The reductions have been small and we have teams that have been growing," she said. "We will look for opportunities to make the business more efficient."Meixell declined to specify if the job losses impacted just Wilmington or also other markets for the drug-maker, which has global headquarters … [Read more...] about AstraZeneca lays off workers at Delaware headquarters
Drugmaker AstraZeneca will cut jobs to reduce $1 billion from its budget by the end of 2017, but the impact on Delaware remains unknown.CEO Pascal Soriot announced Friday the company will primarily lay off workers in sales and manufacturing operations. Exact numbers and locations were not provided.AstraZeneca employs about 2,100 workers between its U.S. headquarters in Fairfax and a packaging facility in Newark. The company has about 50,000 workers worldwide.Soriot said during the conference call with analysts and reporters that job cuts in the United Kingdom, where AstraZeneca is headquartered, will be minimal. Company spokeswoman Abigail Bozarth said she did not have "further information to share" beyond what was announced on Friday.Bozarth said its recent shutdown of eight different medicines that were in development did not result in Delaware layoffs. The company phased out its entire Delaware-based research department in 2011, cutting 550 … [Read more...] about AstraZeneca to cut $1 billion; impact on Delaware unknown
Dear Dr. Roach: Every article I have read about prostate screening fails to define “screening.” I had thought of screening as the PSA blood test and/or the digital exam. But since you and everyone else describe the screening itself as possibly harmful, it must consist of more than I had in mind. I would appreciate an explanation. R.G.Dear R..G.: A screening test is one that is done to diagnose a condition in someone who has no symptoms of the condition. Strictly speaking, much of gathering your medical history involves asking screening questions (such as, “Do you have any shortness of breath?”); the physical exam often qualifies as a screening test; and there are many blood and radiology tests that are used to screen.A good screening test is safe and inexpensive. A condition appropriate for screening is one that is common enough to make screening worthwhile, serious enough to matter and has better outcomes if treated early, compared with treating after symptoms … [Read more...] about Doc: How can screening be harmful?
Fast food outlets should hand out free cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to their customers to "neutralize" the heart risks of eating fatty foods like burgers and fries, British scientists suggested on Thursday.Imperial College London calculated that the reduction in heart disease risk offered by a statin could offset the increase in risk from eating a cheeseburger and a milkshake.Dr. Darrel Francis, who led the research team.Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) health charity, said Francis' idea should not be taken too literally. He urged people to focus on maintaining a good diet and taking exercise to keep their hearts healthy.Dr. Franz Messerli, the director of the hypertension program at two New York hospitals, St. Luke's and Roosevelt, worried about the message handing out statins would send to burger-eaters.Reuters Health by email.Britain without a prescription. Other statins such as Pfizer's Lipitor and AstraZeneca's Crestor - which are among … [Read more...] about Burger with a side of Lipitor? Some docs think fast food should come with statins
Statin drugs, taken by millions of Americans to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease, also can cut the risk of developing dangerous blood clots that can lodge in the legs or lungs, a new study suggests.The results provide a new reason for many people with normal cholesterol to consider taking these medicines, sold as Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor and in generic form, doctors say. In the study, the drug cut nearly in half the risk of blood clots in people with low cholesterol but high scores on a test for inflammation, which plays a role in many diseases. "It might make some people who are on the fence decide to go on statins," although blood clot prevention is not the drugs' main purpose, said Dr. Mark Hlatky, a Stanford University cardiologist who had no role in the study. Results were reported yesterday at the American College of Cardiology conference and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was led by statistician Robert Glynn and Dr. Paul Ridker of … [Read more...] about Cholesterol drugs may fight off clots
HMOs are blocking patients from getting critical single-source drugs - like Lipitor and Celebrex - to boost company profits, a new report charges. Single-source drugs are brand-name products with a unique chemical form that are sold by one manufacturer and have no less expensive generic equivalent. And the HMOs are either charging patients top dollar in co-pays - up to $100 - or forcing doctors into time-consuming fights over the prescriptions approved, says the report, to be released Sunday by state Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx, Westchester). Sometimes the drugs aren't covered at all, according to the report, which surveyed how and whether the 15 HMOs in the state with drug plans restrict prescriptions of 20 common single-source drugs. Aetna, Oxford, Cigna, HIP, GHI and Health Net of New York were among the HMOs surveyed, and all were accused of putting up obstacles, in varying degrees, to obtaining single-source medications. The report says drugs with restrictions … [Read more...] about HMOs block key brand-name medicines to make big bucks, report says
An Upper West Side pharmacy repeatedly doled out the wrong meds to an 80-year-old customer—first a high dose of sleeping pills then unwanted cholesterol drugs, according to a suit filed Thursday. Retired history professor Libero Marx Renzulli claims druggists at a CVS on Amsterdam Ave. flubbed a pair of prescriptions in 2013, first with sleeping pills so strong he ended up taking a life-threatening spill. “I was taking them around the clock. I thought they were something else,” Renzulli said on Thursday. “I took such a fall in the apartment. I hit my head on some sharp furniture. I was bleeding all over.” Renzulli said the second mix-up occurred in December of 2013 when he received somebody’s cholesterol drugs instead of an antibiotic, causing him to collapse again. After taking those pills for a day, he started feeling sharp pains in his torso while waiting on line at a bank across the street from his home on West 85th St. "I was in such … [Read more...] about CVS in Upper West Side gave wrong medications to 80-year-old man: lawsuit