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Weekly Drug News Round Up - February 13, 2013

Institute of Medicine Calls for Actions to Combat Counterfeit Medicines

Drug tampering can occur at any point in an incredibly complex supply chain Read More...

The Institute of Medicine has released a new report detailing recommendations for reducing the global threat of counterfeit medications. The report recommends U.S. changes that would include a mandatory drug-tracking system and tighter licensing rules for drug wholesalers. In 2012 and 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued counterfeit warnings on the injectable cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab). The problem is even worse in developing countries. Lack of global coordination and consistent terminology are additional stumbling blocks. The report calls on the FDA to act as the leader in the U.S and set standards for other countries to follow.

Celegene’s Pomalyst Approved for Advanced Multiple Myeloma

Polamyst is the second drug approved in the past year to treat multiple myeloma Read More...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Pomalyst (pomalidomide) to treat patients with multiple myeloma who have not responded to treatment and have progressed after being treated with at least two prior cancer therapies. Multiple myeloma is a form of blood cancer that primarily affects older adults. Pomalyst, an analogue of thalidomide, is contraindicated in pregnancy and is only available through a restricted distribution program. In trials, over 29 percent of patients treated with Pomalyst plus low-dose dexamethasone had a complete or partial response with a 7.4-month median duration of response. In July 2012, FDA also approved Kyprolis (carfilzomib) to treat multiple myeloma.

Study Finds tPA is Still the First-line Therapy for Acute Ischemic Stroke

Ischemic strokes account for 87 percent of all strokes and are caused by blockage of a blood vessel leading to the brain Read More...

The findings from a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that intravenous tPA (Activase), also known as a “clot-buster” drug, should be the first-line therapy given as soon as possible, and within 3 hours, after the start of a stroke. Some hospitals are also starting to utilize endovascular treatment -- new methods that retrieve or destroy the clot at the artery site -- but current results do not point to better outcomes for the use of the more invasive and expensive endovascular therapy. However, researchers are not so quick to discount endovascular treatments, and state that treatments are evolving rapidly and still warrant further research.

Labeled Doses of Vitamin D Supplements Found Inaccurate

Patients should look for "USP-verified" label on brands of vitamins and supplements Read More...

A JAMA Internal Medicine study notes that some vitamin D supplements may contain more or less vitamin D than the amount noted on their label. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, and patients with liver or kidney disease may be at a higher risk for vitamin D toxicity. Researchers analyzed over-the-counter and compounded vitamin D supplements from various manufacturers, and found the amount of vitamin D ranged from 9 to 146 percent of what was listed on the label. Researchers are more concerned with supplements that may be providing too little vitamin D, as vitamin D deficiency is linked to osteoporosis, heart disease and some types of cancer. Releases Q4 Sales for Top 100 Drugs: Abilify Overtakes Nexium

Cymbalta, Eli Lilly’s antidepressant with over $4.4 billion in 2012 sales is slated for patent expiration at the end of 2013 Read More..., the leading online clinical drug resource, has released fourth quarter 2012 U.S. prescription sales data for the top 100 U.S. drugs. At the close of 2012, Otsuka’s antipsychotic Abilify overtakes AstraZeneca’s acid reducer Nexium and moves into the number one spot with over $1.47 billion in quarterly sales. There are no changes in the top selling pharmaceutical classes, which include antipsychotics, proton pump inhibitors, and statins. Sales losses include AbbVie’s cholesterol treatment TriCor, which drops 53 spots with a $129 million sales decline in Q4 2012. Pharmaceutical sales data, which is updated quarterly, can be found in the Stats Center.