Author Archive

Cheap Drugs Versus Expensive Drugs

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe pricetag of pharmaceuticals are coming under increasing scrutiny in today’s age of cost constraints. Drug development is expensive and high prices are necessary, but governments and healthcare payers are not always willing to pay the price that pharmaceutical companies are asking.

In the UK, the National Health System (NHS) has taken the controversial step of cutting the cost of treating wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by prescribing a cheaper drug over a more expensive one. The controversial element? The cheaper drug isn’t licensed for wet AMD. Read more »

Anticounterfeiting Success in the UK

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeIn the last five years, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has seized counterfeit drugs worth more than £25 million ($41 million), but the war isn’t over yet. Counterfeit products are still a threat to the UK, which is why the agency has launched a new anticounterfeiting strategy called the Falsified Medical Products Strategy 2012–2015. The strategy includes several measures centred around prevention, incident management and investigation. Read more »

Pharma’s Efforts in Developing Countries

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe past month has seen a lot of news about the pharmaceutical industry’s positive influence in developing countries, and this progress looks set to continue thanks to initiatives being launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission (EC). Read more »

EFPIA Moves Forward With Verification system

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeFor some time, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has been working on developing a European verification system to help combat falsified medicines. The system, the European Medicines Verification System (EMVS), now seems close to implementation as EFPIA has launched a tendering process to select potential vendors for the technology. Read more »

Illumina Continues to Reject Roche

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeIn February, I wrote that Roche could be in for a lengthy battle if it wants to acquire the gene-sequencing specialist Illumina. And indeed, the battle is still raging on. Here’s an update on some of the latest developments. Read more »

Vaccine Tied to Narcolepsy

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe 2009 swine flu pandemic (and panic) has been forgotten by most, but regulators, global health organisations and pharmaceutical companies are continuing post-pandemic activities, which include keeping an eye on new cases of the illness and monitoring the safety of pandemic vaccines.

This week, swine flu returned to headlines after two studies published in the Public Library of Science appeared to confirm a link between GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix vaccine and cases of narcolepsy in children in Finland. Between 2002 and 2009, instances of narcolepsy were around 0.31 per 100,000 people. In 2010, this jumped to 5.3 cases per 100,000, which equates to a 17-fold increase. Read more »

GSK Causes UK Celebration

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeGlaxoSmithKline this week gave the UK government and several trade organisations reason to celebrate after announcing that it will build a new manufacturing facility in the country — the first in almost forty years. The facility will be dedicated to biopharmaceuticals and will create new jobs in Ulveston, Cumbria, which has been chosen for the new site. Read more »

Expanding International GMP Collaboration

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeMedicine regulatory agencies in the EU, US and Australia have been successfully collaborating for some time now in the area of GMP inspections of API manufacturers, but now the partners are seeking to further expand the international effort by looking to include additional partners. Read more »

Clearer Labelling for Vegetarian Medicines

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThis week an interesting report was released about the use of gelatine in medicines. Most of us are comfortable with the use of animal products as ingredients, but for vegetarians or other people that follow restrictive diets it can be an issue.  Anybody who falls into this situation should be able to choose whether they will or won’t take a particular product, but the report highlights the fact that many people do not realise that their medicines contain gelatine. In particularly, many vegetarians may unknowingly be prescribed medicines that contain animal derivatives.

As such, the authors of the report, published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal are calling for clearer drug labelling for such medicines. Read more »

Counterfeit Woes in the West

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeLast week, counterfeits of the anti-cancer drug Avastin were discovered in the US and this week fake pharmaceuticals continue to occupy headlines. Read more »

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