Author Archive

Knowing When to Stay the Blade

Erik Greb PharmTech editorConcern about the federal government’s budget deficit is reaching a crescendo. Assorted Cassandras warn that failing to address this problem could have dire consequences, and members of both parties seem to agree that spending must be cut. But before Congress tightens its purse strings too zealously, I’d like to remind it of the valuable and necessary work that the national budget funds. Two drug-related stories that emerged last week provide particularly good examples. Read more »

Big Pharma and Buyer’s Remorse

Erik Greb PharmTech editorTo make up for weak pipelines, and to take arms against a sea of generic-drug competitors, many large pharmaceutical companies have pursued mergers and acquisitions. This strategy began to gain popularity about 10 years ago, and the industry’s new motto seems to be “When the going gets tough, the big get bigger.” Has this strategy improved drugmakers’ pipelines or bottom lines? Read more »

A Prescription for New Jersey, and for the Drug Industry

Erik Greb PharmTech editorMention New Jersey to someone on the street, and he or she is likely to think of Springsteen, the Sopranos, or (God forbid) Snooki. But PharmTech readers know that New Jersey is an important state for the drug industry. Many big companies, such as Johnson and Johnson, sanofi-aventis, Novartis, and Pfizer, have headquarters or other offices in the state. And the Garden State’s drugmakers are facing the same difficulties that confront the industry at large. Read more »

How Accountable Are Makers of Generic Drugs?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorBarely a month after its ruling in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, the US Supreme Court has begun to hear arguments in another case with big ramifications for drugmakers. The current case raises questions about generic-drug companies’ responsibilities and whether federal law pre-empts state regulations, among other issues. Read more »

Is Big Pharma Stifling Innovation?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorBig Pharma has offered many explanations for its anemic pipelines. All of the easy drugs have been discovered. Patent law (or another particular form of regulation) stifles innovation. The economy is forcing us to retrench. Although these explanations may be plausible, they all lay the blame elsewhere. Could Big Pharma’s own actions be discouraging research and development (R&D)? Read more »

Vaccines Loom Large at INTERPHEX

Erik Greb PharmTech editorEven more than visiting the exhibit floor, I enjoy attending the presentations at INTERPHEX, which will take place next week in New York. The sessions always reflect the current hot topics within the pharmaceutical industry, and this year is no exception. Observers have been predicting that vaccines will be the industry’s new growth area, so my eye was drawn to the various biopharmaceutical talks listed on the INTERPHEX schedule of events. Read more »

Consent Decree (Finally) for J&J

Erik Greb PharmTech editorBeginning in September 2009, I watched with increasing surprise as Johnson & Johnson (J&J) recalled more and more of its products. As the recalls kept coming, my surprise turned to amazement that some of the company’s facilities (particularly the one at Fort Washington, Pennsylvania) could have been maintained and run in such an apparently haphazard way. As time went on, my amazement ebbed, and the continuing stream of recalls elicited little more than a shrug. Read more »

Novartis’s Overdue Overtime Payments

Erik Greb PharmTech editorOrganized labor is on the ropes, to put it mildly. Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states are on the brink of taking collective bargaining rights away from state employee unions. That’s why last week’s US Supreme Court action was particularly welcome to employees inside and outside the pharmaceutical industry. Read more »

Confusing Language and a Dubious Victory for Patients

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThis week, vaccine manufacturers won increased protection from liability in a closely watched case before the US Supreme Court. In Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, the Court ruled that federal law prohibits patients who claim to have been injured by a vaccine from suing the manufacturer. Pfizer hailed the decision as a victory for public health, but its effect is to diminish patients’ recourse when they suffer harm from taking faulty products. Read more »

Leaner, Meaner R&D

Erik Greb PharmTech editorA sizeable chunk of Big Pharma’s sales will fall off the dreaded patent cliff before the year is out. Patent expirations will allow competitors to market, and patients to buy, generic versions of branded drugs. A renewed focus on discovering and developing new therapies would seem to be the obvious solution for Big Pharma. Yet at least one observer predicts cuts in research and development (R&D) spending throughout the industry. Read more »

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