Valeant Pharmaceuticals Announces Temporary Stay in Efudex(R) Case
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX) today announced that Spear Pharmaceuticals has agreed not to market, sell or ship a generic fluorouracil cream 5% pursuant to a stay in Valeant’s legal case against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The stay will remain in place until May 14, 2008, or until a further order of the Court is issued.
On April 11, 2008, the FDA approved an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for a fluorouracil cream 5% sponsored by Spear Pharmaceuticals. On the same day, the FDA responded to Valeant’s December 21, 2004, Citizen Petition regarding potential generic versions of Valeant’s pioneer drug product, EfudexÃ‚® (fluorouracil) Cream 5%. Efudex Cream 5% is approved by the FDA for the treatment of multiple actinic or solar keratoses, and for the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinomas when conventional methods of treatment are impractical. In the Citizen Petition, Valeant requested that the FDA decline to approve generic versions of Efudex Cream 5% where the generic company has failed to provide test data comparing the generic product to Efudex Cream in patients diagnosed with superficial basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.
On April 25, 2008, Valeant filed a federal lawsuit against the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael O. Leavitt, and the Commissioner of the FDA, Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., challenging the FDA’s denial of Valeant’s Citizen Petition and the approval of a generic to Efudex Cream 5%. Valeant requested a temporary restraining order (TRO) to suspend the FDA’s approval of Spear’s ANDA. Following an initial round of briefing, the FDA requested and obtained from the court a two week stay of the lawsuit. In addition, Spear Pharmaceuticals informed the court it will suspend all further sales and shipment of its product for the duration of the court ordered stay.
“We filed suit because we disagree with the FDA’s decision and we are concerned for the safety of our patients suffering from basal cell carcinoma,” stated J. Michael Pearson, Valeant’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The potential for these patients to receive a substitute product that has not been tested in patients with skin cancer, when they expect to receive our Efudex Cream, is unacceptable. Efudex Cream 5% has been shown to have greater than a 90% success rate in treating superficial basal cell carcinoma. Under the FDA’s Citizen Petition response, generic versions of Efudex Cream 5% need only be tested in patients with actinic or solar keratoses.”
Important Safety Information
EfudexÃ‚® (fluorouracil) Topical Solutions and Cream is recommended for the topical treatment of multiple actinic or solar keratoses. In the 5% strength it is also useful in the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinomas when conventional methods are impractical, such as with multiple lesions or difficult treatment sites. Safety and efficacy in other indications have not been established.
Efudex is contraindicated in women who are, or may become, pregnant during therapy because of potential hazards to the fetus. Cases of miscarriage and birth defects have been reported in women who are pregnant.
The most frequent adverse events occur locally and may include itching, burning, soreness, tenderness, scaling, and swelling. Application to mucous membranes should be avoided due to the possibility of local inflammation and ulceration. For complete Prescribing Information, please visit www.efudex.com.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (NYSE:VRX) is a multinational specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of pharmaceutical products primarily in the areas of neurology, infectious disease and dermatology. More information about Valeant can be found at www.valeant.com.
Efudex is a registered trademark of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International or its related companies. For information on Efudex visit www.efudex.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements regarding the company’s legal case against the FDA and the filing of a temporary restraining order against Spear Pharmaceuticals, and other risks detailed from time to time in the company’s SEC filings. The company cautions the reader that these factors, as well as other factors described in its SEC filings, are among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations described in the forward-looking statements. The company also cautions the reader that undue reliance should not be placed on any of the forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. The company undertakes no responsibility to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release or to reflect actual outcomes.