Cytarabine shortage yields "inadequate options;" Teva pulls disintegrating reflux tablets;

> "Never in my 30 years of treating patients with leukemia has such a drug shortage occurred [that of cytarabine], resulting in inadequate therapeutic options for patients,"says Hagop Kantarjian, leukemia department chair, MD Anderson Cancer Center. Op-ed

> Teva has withdrawn from distribution its disintegrating tablet form of lansoprazole--a knockoff of the acid reflux drug Prevacid--following an FDA warning to doctors about reports of clogged feeding tubes and blocked syringes linked to tablets that may not have dissolved properly. Letter

> Novartis is likely to continue to streamline operations, with more actions like the recent staff reductions at its Horsham site in the UK. Column

> A musty odor is again cited by a J&J unit in a product recall, this time for the anti-seizure drug, Topamax. Story

> Pharmatek has earned the approval of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for analyzing Schedule I through V controlled substances and conducting stability tests. Pharmatek release

> Cherwell Laboratories will open a manufacturing and warehousing facility for microbiological media. Item

> Kazakhstan is encouraging India on the set-up of joint-venture pharma manufacturing plants and other industrial projects in the former Soviet republic. Statement

> PharmStar Pharmaceuticals is negotiating the purchase a three-acre site and 24,000-square-foot building in Wilson, NC, for production of the OTC liquid pain reliever Aquaprin. PharmStar release

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