King Pharmaceuticals Faces Setbacks With ‘Abuse-Resistant’ Pain Medicines

Brian Markison, chairman and chief executive of King Pharmaceuticals, told investors at JPMorgan’s 28th Annual Health Conference in San Francisco that growth prospects for its pain management franchise remained robust, despite uncertainty from ongoing patent challenges and regulatory setbacks. Markinson’s presentation did little to inspire confidence, as he provided little clarity on how the company’s abuse-resistant opioid reformulations would secure FDA approval — and usher in this heralded new phase of commercial prosperity.
King Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:KG) derived approximately 65 percent, or about $184.5 million, of total branded prescription sales from its portfolio of pain management drugs in the third quarter of 2009, according to its quarterly earnings filing with the SEC. Net sales for category leader Skelaxin (metaxalone) declined 7.2 percent from the year-ago quarter to $102.1 million, as total prescriptions fell 22 percent due to intense competition from other muscle relaxants — especially Cephalon’s popular Amrix.

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