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AZ discontinues asthma medicine

AstraZeneca is to discontinue production of an inhaled version of its asthma medication Pulmicort due to 'manufacturing issues'

AstraZeneca (AZ) is to discontinue production of the pressurised metered dose inhaler (pMDI) version of its asthma medication Pulmicort (budesonide), in both its 100µg and 200µg doses, due to 'manufacturing issues'.

The company said the problem is due to 'product-specific processes and components', the combination of which was used solely in the manufacturing of Pulmicort pMDI.

The decision to discontinue the product was not related to the active ingredient of the medicine, budesonide - a corticosteroid also used in AZ's nasal inhalant, Rhinocort, for conditions such as hayfever, and the controlled-release capsule Entocort for Crohn's disease.

Other unaffected products include AZ's Pulmicort Turbuhaler, Pulmicort Respules and Pulmicort Flexhaler.

David Smith, executive vice president, Global Operations and IS, AstraZeneca, said the company had "exhausted all potential solutions" in its efforts to solve the technical problems and to continue supplying the product.

"[I]t is in the patient's best interest to find an alternative medication as soon as possible," continued Smith, with AZ stating that it is working with regulatory authorities and healthcare professionals to help patients on Pulmicort pMDI to switch treatments.

Patients currently on the medication will be able to finish any current supplies they have remaining.

7th March 2011

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