Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm a believer: drug-supply startup proves its mettle

From the Edmonton Journal:
Chalk up another one for Sine Chadi.

When I first interviewed the CEO and majority shareholder of Edmonton-based Imperial Equities in 2007, he had big dreams for a tiny drug-distribution firm his company had just acquired.

I listened politely to Chadi's upbeat talk, but in truth, I didn't take it too seriously. After all, entrepreneurs are born dreamers and most of their schemes go nowhere.

Besides, I figured, what could a smallish local real estate operator with a market cap of just $30 million and a clutch of second-tier industrial and commercial properties know about delivering drugs to pharmacies?

That's strictly a game for the big guys, I reasoned -- namely corporate giants like McKesson Corp., whose annual revenues ($100 billion-plus US) dwarf the very largest companies in Canada, let alone a minnow like Imperial.

Well, it turns out I was wrong to dismiss Chadi's effusive outpourings. When I checked in with him a year ago, his drug-delivery service had grown to nearly $13 million in annual sales, up from just $1.2 million in 2006. ...more

Pfizer, Health Canada pull Thelin from shelves

From the Globe and Mail:
Health Canada and drug giant Pfizer formally announced Monday the company is taking a drug used to treat a rare, but serious, lung disease off the market due to risks of potentially fatal liver damage.

Pfizer Canada also said the company is abandoning all clinical trials of sitaxsentan sodium, better known by the brand name Thelin, and removing the drug from every country where it is sold.

The decision is raising questions about why the drug, used to treat pulmonary hypertension, was approved in Canada in the first place.

Parent company Pfizer Inc. announced more than a week ago its intentions to pull the drug off the market in Canada, Australia and Europe, as well as halt clinical trials. The decision was prompted by the deaths of three patients involved in clinical trials of the drug.

The company was conducting the trials in a bid to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the drug in that country. ...more

Certain heart burn medications linked to increased risk of pneumonia

From the Montreal Gazette:
People on two types of widely prescribed heartburn medications may have a higher-than-average risk of developing pneumonia, a new research review finds.

The drugs in question belong to two classes frequently used to treat heartburn or stomach ulcers: proton pump inhibitors, which include drugs like Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec; and H2-receptor blockers, such as Pepcid and Zantac.

In the U.S. alone, people spent $27 billion on these medications in 2005.

Some studies have found a connection between the heartburn drugs and a heightened risk of pneumonia. One theory is that by curbing stomach acid, the medications allow ingested bacteria that would otherwise be killed to instead survive and thrive -- and potentially get into the lungs. ...more

Windsor pharmacies running out of commonly-used drugs

From the Windsor Star:

Some commonly used drugs, including antibiotics and sedatives, "can't be found anywhere" in Windsor due to a national prescription drug shortage, a local pharmacist says.

The shortage, highlighted in a national survey, is creating problems across the region, says Peter Dumo, owner of Novacare Pharmacy in Windsor.

"There are some drugs that you can't get anywhere right now," Dumo said, listing among them Triazolan, a sedative, and Cephalexin, typically used to treat skin infections.

Dumo said he's experienced drug shortages before, but "I've never seen anything like this in Ontario."...more

Monday, December 20, 2010


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