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A New Strategy to Tackle Antibiotic Resistance

We all know that the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming was a turning point in medical history, which led to the development of lifesaving antibiotics. But who would have thought that decades down the road, we would be battling antibiotic resistance on a global scale. Data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), released at the end of last year, showed a marked increase in carbapenem-resistant infections across Europe. Mortality rates have increased as well due to the limited options of antibiotics available to treat these infections. According to the European Commission, the widespread prevalence of antibiotic resistance has been estimated to cause approximately 25,000 deaths annually and more than €1.5 billion in healthcare expenses and productivity losses in Europe alone. A June 2013 report by IMS Health, “Avoidable Costs in US Healthcare,” noted that in 2012, there were 900,000 hospital admissions for drug-resistant conditions.

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According to IMS Health, the avoidable cost from antibiotic misuse ranges between $27 billion to $42 billion. Read more »

Innovation on the Rise among Indian Pharmaceutical Companies

India has a name when it comes to generic drug development. According to a recent research on patent applications carried out by Withers & Rogers, innovation by Indian pharmaceutical companies has increased over the

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past few years; however, the quality did not match the standard seen in Europe. Read more »

Pharma Moves Towards Continuous Manufacturing and Low-Cost Products

It’s Day 2 at CPhI and the remaining findings of the annual expert industry report were released today during the show. As continuous processing continues to revolutionize manufacturing, Emil Ciurczak, principal at Doramax Consulting, believes that large batch production will one day be a thing of the past. Read more »

From Blockbusters to Niche Medicines

CPhI Worldwide and CPhI Pharma Evolution, part of UBM Live’s Pharmaceutical Portfolio, today released Part II of the CPhI annual industry report, in which expert industry panel members share their views on trends that will drive growth and innovation across the pharmaceutical industry over the coming years and beyond.

The pharmaceutical industry is shifting away from the blockbuster model towards the development of personalized medicines and niche, individualized therapies and associated companion diagnostics, noted Sam Venugopal, director, healthcare, PricewaterhouseCoopers. These drugs target specific populations and genomic makeups and are known to have greater efficacy. William Botha, Sensei at Interlean, added that there will also be companies moving towards commodity-based, low-margin products. As a result, one can expect to see increased specialization, particularly amongst small and medium companies. Read more »

Neutron Studies Reveal New Areas for Improvement in Drug Design of HIV Inhibitors

A team of scientists recently reported on the first study of interactions between the antiretroviral drug, amprenavir, and the HIV-1 protease enzyme. The findings provide the first true picture of how the protease inhibitor blocks viral replication. More importantly, the study reveal how drug design can be improved to enhance performance, combat resistance and reduce dosage of antiretroviral medications to treat HIV. Read more »

The Truth Behind China Bribery Scandals

VLUU L110  / Samsung L110The last few weeks have seen the media swamped with stories about the rampant bribery clawing the pharmaceutical industry in China. Big names were engulfed in the scandal, including GSK, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Novartis, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and UCB amongst others.

Last month, four GSK executives were put under investigation for allegedly paying up to $480 million to doctors, hospital administrators, government officials and medical groups to promote the use of its medications. The limelight then shifted to Sanofi when some of its employees were accused of paying bribes totaling up to $280,000 to more than 500 Chinese doctors across 79 hospitals six years ago. The newspapers also alleged that Sanofi paid doctors 80 yuan each time a patient bought its products, with the largest payment said to be 11,200 yuan.

Novartis has also fallen prey to bribery allegations in China. The Swiss drug maker was accused of paying doctors $8000 to prescribe its cancer drug, Sandostatin LAR. Sales figures were expected to increase in June and July this year as a result. Eli Lilly is now the latest being investigated after a former employee alleged in a report that the company spent more than $490,000 to bribe doctors in China. The former sales manager said that Eli Lilly offered kickbacks to ensure doctors used its drugs, including its insulin brand. Read more »

Falsified Medicines Directive Enforced in the UK

Craig Stobie from Domino Printing Sciences shares on how to prepare for FMD and other emerging legislation.

The Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) has finally been transposed into UK legislation. The FMD came into force on 20 August 2013. “It is now time for pharmaceutical manufacturers to walk the talk,” said Craig Stobie, global life sciences sector manager at Domino Printing Sciences. Read more »

Myriad Ruling Will Undermine Global Biotech investment But All Is Not Lost

Guest blog written by Adrian Tombling, partner and patent attorney at Withers & Rogers LLP.

The US Supreme Court ruling in the so-called ‘Myriad case’ regarding the patentability of human genes will undermine global biotech investment but all is not lost. Judge Thomas, in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, effectively tightened the rules on the patentability of human genes, finding that all naturally occurring gene sequences, even when isolated in the laboratory, are not patentable. In future, only non-naturally occurring gene sequences (e.g., sequences that have been modified or entirely created in the laboratory), will be patentable, and therefore, attract investment from biotech companies. Read more »

Drug Development: To Sue or Not to sue?

Guest blog written by Dr Nicholas Jones, partner and patent attorney at Withers & Rogers LLP.

While it may not happen often, clinical trials can sometimes be halted by patent disputes, leading to costly delays in bringing new drugs to market. At last, the UK Government has decided to do something about this in a bid to make UK patent law more consistent with that in some other parts of the world. Read more »

Advertising of Prescription Drugs – Keeping it Honest and Balanced

It is well known that the pharmaceutical industry spends billions each year on promoting their products, especially to healthcare professionals. In the US, a significant amount is also spent on direct advertising to consumers. In a report by the FDA on Keeping Drug Advertising Honest and Balanced, Thomas Abrams, director of the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP), shares on how the agency “protects consumers from false and misleading ads for prescription drugs that appear on TV, radio, online and in print publications.” Read more »

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