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Pharma news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news affecting the industry
Actavis makes move for Pliva
Novartis to challenge AstraZeneca
Six in hospital after clinical trial disaster
Pharma news in brief
NHS news in brief
R&D news in brief

NicOx could strike gold
French biotechnology firm NicOx could receive milestone payments of up to Ä288.2m from its agreement with Merck to develop new high blood pressure treatments. The deal follows an eye treatment licensing agreement with Pfizer earlier this month, worth as much as Ä323m. ìThe importance of this agreement in terms of money and NicOx's research credibility can only lead to a continued re-rating which the shares have seen since the agreement with Pfizer,î said CM-CIC Securities in a research note.

Child antipyschotic use soars
More and more US children are being prescribed antipsychotics, according to a new study. The research, which appears in the latest edition of the journal Ambulatory Pediatrics, found that the number of children on antipsychotics jumped fivefold between 1995 and 2002, to an estimated 2.5 million. Researchers analysed data on youngsters age 13 on average who were involved in annual national health surveys, which involved prescriptions given during 119, 752 doctor visits. Lead author, Dr William Cooper, a paediatrician at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital described the findings as worrisome ìbecause it looks like these medications are being used for large numbers of children in a setting where we don't know if they work.î

ADHD use up in adults
Use of attention deficit hyperactivity drugs rose nearly 19 per cent among adults aged 20 to 44, according to a report from US pharmacy benefits manager MedCo Health Solutions. However, usage in children aged 10 to 19 and under 10 fell by 2 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. The study comes as a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel is set to review data on a possible link between ADHD drugs and heart problems, as well as psychiatric problems in children.

Pfizer starts talks on consumer health unit
Pfizer has confirmed that it has started talking to potential buyers for its consumer health division. According to analyst estimates, the unit will fetch at least $10bn (£5.7bn). A Pfizer spokesman told The Times that a final decision on the unit's future might not be taken for several months, adding that it was still ìtoo earlyî in the process to say what might eventually happen. Analysts believe GlaxoSmithKline, which failed in its bid to buy Boots Healthcare International last year, is among the potential buyers as is Reckitt Benckiser.

30th September 2008


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