Actualité publiée sur le site
Avril 2003

Actualité en direct des USA
(de notre correspondant américain aux Etat-Unis , Chamberlain Communication Group) texte en anglais

RESISTANCE -- Los Angeles County officials pressed the Sheriff's Department on Tuesday to more aggressively combat the spread in county jails of a painful skin infection resistant to most common antibiotics. Despite efforts to contain it, an outbreak of infections from drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, has continued to worsen after being identified last June, according to an update delivered to the Board of Supervisors. Of the 165,000 inmates who spent time in county jails last year, 928 tested positive for staph. Since January there have been 325 new infections, including 125 in March, according to the report. [],1,3546144.story?coll=la%2Dhealth%2Dmedicine

EXPECTS -- Lilly expects fourth quarter approval of Cymbalta. Lilly's response to FDA's approvable letter, includes additional safety, efficacy and product development data. Also, Zyprexa IM manufacturing building is expected to be ready for re-inspection later this year. [Health News Daily]

FALLOUT -- Shares in Shire Pharmaceuticals fell 1.3 percent today, a day after U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly made positive remarks on a rival to Shire's top selling Adderall hyperactivity drug. Traders said news that Lilly's Strattera attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder drug, launched in the US in January, achieved sales of $55 million during the first quarter had undermined Shire's shares. [Reuters]

RELAUNCH -- Forest Laboratories plans to relaunch Lexapro within a year following sNDA approval for general anxiety disorder. Forest acknowledge that Lilly's Cymbalta would be the major new competitive entrant in the marketplace. [Health News Daily]

SCATHING -- In a scathing condemnation of the pharmaceutical industry, JAMA editors said a company shortchanged science by halting a large study of high blood pressure drugs to save money.
The study was designed to see if Covera (verapamil)was as effective as two other hypertension drugs at preventing heart-related complications of high blood pressure. Covera appears to have been similarly effective but the data are incomplete. The study began in 1996 and was halted in 2000, two years early. Covera was originally made by G.D. Searle, which later became part of Pharmacia Corp. Pharmacia was bought this month by Pfizer. The study found that as an initial therapy to prevent cardiovascular events in hypertensive patients, treatment with controlled-onset extended-release (COER) verapamil is not better than diuretic or beta-blocker therapy, [AP]

NO DRUGS -- A study said to be the first to test the impact of a combination of lifestyle changes on high blood pressure has found it and the risk of heart disease can be lowered without drugs, researchers report in JAMA. The beneficial changes in the study were 180 minutes of moderately intense exercise per week, a reduced-fat DASH diet featuring more fruits and vegetables, weight loss of at least 15 pounds, reduced sodium intake and limiting alcoholic beverages to one per day for women, two for men. [Reuters]

RESISTANCE -- A breakthrough in understanding how malaria develops resistance to drugs offering potential new routes for tackling the deadly infection, researchers report in Nature Structural Biology. [Reuters Health]

WARN -- The European Medicines Evaluation Agency said one patient had died and others had suffered potentially life-threatening worsening of symptoms after taking Aventis' antibiotic Ketek (telithromycin). [Reuters Health]

FEWER -- Entremed said its lead drug Panzem -- which blocks the formation of blood vessels, slowing the growth of tumors -- was shown to have fewer side effects than Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Taxol and vincristine. Panzem is still in Phase II clinical trials, and the company declined to speculate when Phase III trials would begin or when the drug is expected on the market. [Dow Jones]

EARNINGS CALL -- First Health Group Corp. will be hosting a conference call and webcast on Monday, April 28 at 9 a.m. Central Standard Time to discuss the Company's first quarter results, which will be released before the market opens. [PRNewswire]

APPROVED -- FDA approved Boston Scientific's Enteryx, a permanent implant that can free GERD patients from taking daily medications to fight acid reflux. The device is a liquid solution, containing a polymer and a solvent, that solidifies into a sponge-like material after being into the muscular valve between the esophagus and stomach. The purpose is to reinforce the valve that is supposed to keep stomach acid from flowing into the throat. [Reuters]

APPROVED -- CryoCath's earlier-than-expected FDA approval for the Freezor cardiac cryoablation system clears the way for an official launch at the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology annual meeting in Washington, D.C. May 15. [Health News Daily]

DROP -- Scion Cardio-Vascular Inc. said it dropped voluntarily its lawsuit without prejudice against Abbott Laboratories. In a press release Tuesday, Scion, a private medical device company, said it " believes it would have won this case against Abbott for fraud, breach of confidentiality, and trademark and copyright violations"; however it "feels its energy and money are best focused on winning in the marketplace rather than in the courtroom". [Dow Jones]

UNIVERSAL -- A plan to provide near-universal health coverage through a new model that combines the private sector and expanded public programs is outlined by the Commonwealth Fund in the May/June issue of Health Affairs. [Health News Daily]

SUBSTITUTE -- Centocor's antitumor necrosis factor monoclonal antibody, Remicade (infliximab), could be used instead of surgery in sciatica patients, suggest the results of a pilot study published in Spine. [Scrip]

ARDS & MODS -- New study findings help explain why many critically ill patients with a serious lung condition known as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) die, researchers reported in JAMA. ARDS, which can result from pneumonia, trauma, major infection or other factors, causes inflammation and fluid build-up in the lungs. But the most common reason that around one third of patients die is that organs other than the lungs begin to fail, in a condition called multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). [Reuters Health]

MARKER -- One of the largest studies to date suggests that two proteins found in spinal fluid may indeed help diagnose Alzheimer's disease, although the results are still preliminary, according to a JAMA report. The two proteins -- tau and a particular type of beta-amyloid -- were different in Alzheimer's disease patients compared with healthy "controls." [Reuters Health]

PRESENT -- While an sNDA for Eisai/Pfizer's acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, Aricept, in vascular dementia is being considered by the FDA, the companies have presented the results of a meta-analysis confirming the Alzheimer's drug's efficacy in the condition. The FDA's peripheral and central nervous system drugs advisory committee is due to review the supplemental Aricept filing on May 16. In the meta-analysis of data from 12 trials, in 1,219 patients with probable or possible vascular dementia and 2,376 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease, Aricept improved cognition and reduced decline. [Scrip]

INTERACTION -- With so many people taking prescription medications (25% of adult Americans and 40% of those 65 or older), the potential for dangerous drug interactions increases. Some of the drugs are so new that doctors are only beginning to understand more about how they work on a molecular level. [Wall Street Journal, D1]

EXPAND -- Drug companies are expanding their role in Medicaid with programs they say save taxpayers million of dollars by keeping patients out of hospitals. Critics counter that the programs persuade states to drop efforts to lower drug prices. [NY Times, C1]

RISE -- Wyeth reported a higher quarterly profit as it recorded big gains from the sale of its stake in biotechnology company Amgen, but sales of its female hormone replacement drugs plunged.
The company posted first-quarter earnings of $1.28 billion, or 96 cents per share, compared with $872 million, or 65 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding the gain from the Amgen shares, Wyeth earned $719 million, or 54 cents per share. [Reuters]

BOOST -- Amgen said its first-quarter profit rose 45% amid better-than-expected sales of its anemia, immunity-boosting and arthritis drugs. The company reported net income of $493 million, or 37 cents a diluted share, compared with $341 million, or 32 cents a share, a year earlier. [Seattle Times]

WRINKLE -- There's more to Allergan than wrinkle remover and spasm treatment Botox, which brought in almost one-third of Allergan's $1.39 billion in sales last year. In the last several months excitement has grown over two other drugs: Tazorac, a gel capsule used to treat psoriasis and acne, and Restasis, a treatment for severe dry eyes that is launching this month. [Investor's Business Daily]

SPIN OFF -- Merck will spin off all of its prescription benefits subsidiary, Medco Health Solutions Inc., to shareholders, because market conditions are still too weak to support an initial public offering. Merck, which last year had delayed four times plans to sell 20 percent of Medco shares to the public in an offering designed to raise $1 billion, said that with the spin-off Medco would pay it a cash dividend. [Reuters]

(Notre correspondant américain aux Etat- Unis, Chamberlain Communication Group)
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