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I know some of you take, or have taken at some point, the drug "Neurontin", so I thought you'd be interested in this information, courtesy of the Co-Cure Mailing list:
quote: Moderator Note: Many people with M.E./CFS and Fibromyalgia use Neurontinfor the off-label use of pain control. That fact makes this welcome news.NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alpharma Inc. on Friday began selling a cheapergeneric version of Pfizer Inc.'s $3 billion a year epilepsy drugNeurontin without waiting for a court ruling on Pfizer's request to blockthe copycat medicine.Pfizer late in the day launched its own generic version of the drug, knownas gabapentin -- a move that will allow it to retain some of the massiverevenue it stands to lose due to competition from cheap generics.Pfizer made that decision after a temporary restraining it had sought tohalt the Alpharma sale was denied by a U.S. District Court judge on Friday,a company spokesman said.Alpharma spokeswoman Kathleen Makrakis said their drug had already beenshipped to wholesalers in 100, 300 and 400 milligram doses. Pfizer said itwas selling its generic Neurontin at the same three doses."We suspect Pfizer will lose the majority share of $2.4 billion in U.S.sales," said Sena Lund, an analyst for Cathay Financial. He said Pfizermight recoup "a couple hundred million dollars" in lost revenue with itsgeneric.The world's biggest drug maker said it will seek legal remedies, includingdamages based on lost profits, should a federal judge rule that Alpharma'sproduct infringes on Pfizer's patent.U.S. District Court Judge John Liftland is expected to rule on Pfizer'soriginal request for an injunction to block Alpharma's drug in the nearfuture.Pfizer's stock has fallen in recent weeks in anticipation that genericcompetition for one of its biggest drugs was imminent. It dropped another19 cents on Friday after being up about 1 percent for most of the day.But Pfizer's aggressive response took its toll on shares of Alpharma, whichfinished down 6 percent, analysts said.Ken Cacciatore, an analyst for SG Cowen, said Alpharma's profit could beundercut by Pfizer's generic.He said investors may also be worried about the risk Alpharma now facesshould the court rule against it."Some investors may be concerned they are jumping the gun and trying toforce the judge's hand and that that could get a negative reaction from thecourt," Cacciatore said.As the first company granted permission by U.S. regulators to sell ageneric version of the drug, Alpharma would have 180 days of exclusivitybefore other generics can hit the market.Alpharma said it will ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allowIsrael-based generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA.TA) to sell thedrug during its exclusivity period.Pfizer had been hoping to get a follow-up prescription epilepsy and paindrug called Lyrica on the market before Neurontin faced generic competition.But Lyrica was hit with a regulatory setback last month when theFDA issued an approvable letter rather than outright approval, indicatingthat certain conditions must still be met before the drug can be sold inthe United States."It's going to be harder to launch Lyrica with the existence of genericgabapentin," SG Cowen analyst Steve Scala said. "If the drug (Lyrica) isreally better, then presumably there will be a market for it. But itdepends on the perception of prescribers."Scala said having Neurontin patients switch to Lyrica before the genericgabapentin became available "would have been a much better scenario forPfizer."Generic drug maker Ivax Corp. said it would begin selling gabapentincapsules once Alpharma's 180-day exclusivity period ends. Others are sureto follow suit.Alpharma said it will update its financial 2004 outlook in the next severalweeks as the gabapentin market develops.------------------------------
 
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