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Pharma news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news affecting the industry

Exubera UK launch
Pfizer has announced the UK launch of Exubera, the first ever inhaled insulin treatment for diabetes. According to the US firm, there are currently 2 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes and around a million more thought to be undiagnosed. It estimated the costs to the NHS of treating diabetes and its complications at £158 per second. Professor Stephen Gough, of University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said patients often delay starting or increasing insulin treatment due to either fear of injection or the pain and discomfort they experience as a result of daily multiple injections. ìAs a result, patients can suffer years of poor diabetes control and an increased likelihood of devastating long term complications,î he said.

Sanofi to fight on over Plavix patent
Sanofi-aventis (S-A) announced it has relaunched litigation against Canadian generics firm, Apotex, for its generic challenge to the French company's top-selling blood thinner, Plavix. S-A chief finance officer, Jean-Claude Leroy, said the firm was resuming patent litigation after US regulators refused to give antitrust clearance to a deal S-A and US marketing partner, BMS, had struck with Apotex. Rating agency, Standard & Poors, estimated that the decision would make it difficult for S-A to protect a key patent on Plavix, and generic competition to the drug could be launched as early as next year.

Trial victim has 'early signs of cancer'
A volunteer in the ill-fated Northwick Park Hospital clinical trial of the monoclonal antibody, TGN-1412, says he now has the early signs of cancer. David Oakley told the Mail on Sunday he was first made aware of a potential problem about two months ago when blood tests revealed early stages of the disease. There is no evidence to suggest that the cancer was caused by the experimental drug. Oakley said he would seek compensation from contract research organisation, Paraxel, which conducted the clinical trial on behalf of German biotechnology firm, TeGenero.

30th September 2008

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