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 »

AstraZeneca and Exco InTouch Collaborate to Augment Current COPD Pathways

Guest blog written by Chris Watson, product manager of Exco InTouch.

AstraZeneca and Exco InTouch have announced a program to develop and launch interactive mobile phone and internet-based health tools that will help patients in the UK and their healthcare providers to track and manage chronic conditions. AstraZeneca’s R&D organisation and Exco InTouch are developing the tool with an initial focus on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Read more »

Third Quarter Revenues Wounded by Patent Expiries

As third quarter results were being released last week, we hear of several top drugmakers facing hard knocks from the fall off the patent cliff. Pharmaceutical news have been populated with headlines such as the following: Sanofi drops as major patent expiries take hold, Bristol-Myers results fall short as Plavix sales evaporate, AstraZeneca continues to see revenue decline, and Lilly revenues down as generics erode Zyprexa sales. Read more »

AstraZeneca Axe Hovers Above 7300 Workers

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeRumors of change at AstraZeneca have been rumbling through newspapers all week and yesterday the company finally revealed the details by releasing a statement about its  restructuring initiatives “to drive productivity and support innovation”. It all sounds very high and important but basically it boils down to job cuts. And lots of them. Read more »

Fast Pharma Strikes Again

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeEarlier this week I read a great article on Reuters about how pharma companies are looking to the automobile industry for innovation by transferring some of the lean methodologies learned in car manufacturing to pharmaceuticals. As a pharmaceutical journalist, I read a lot of news stories and articles about innovative new products, R&D projects and partnerships, and sometimes it’s too easy to let your eyes gloss over these as everyday business. Earlier this year though, the partnership between GlaxoSmithKline the McLaren Group really grabbed my attention. Pharma… and a racing-car maker? That’s definitely not an everyday occurrence. Or is it? Read more »

New Hope for Neglected Diseases

Erik Greb PharmTech editorIt’s getting harder for the pharmaceutical industry to ignore neglected diseases. The globalization of national economies and the rise in air travel are increasing the potential for exposure to these diseases, which previously had been limited to the developing world. “Now is the time to have this discussion,” Kishor M. Wasan, chair-elect of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’s Pharmaceuticals in Global Health Focus Group, told Pharmaceutical Technology earlier this month. Industry now seems to be getting the message. Read more »

A Taste Of Someone Else’s Medicine

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeMistakes happen. In the pharma industry, these mistakes can lead to product recalls. Perhaps the medication is not the correct strength or maybe it became contaminated with metal fragments…

…and sometimes, entirely the wrong drug is found in the packet. In a case that has had UK media reports aflame, a prescription only antipsychotic drug was found in certain packets of a common pain medication that was manufactured by a completely different company. Is it a repackaging mistake? Or are more sinister intentions at work? Either way, it’s clear there are could be a few security holes in pharma’s distribution chains. Read more »

Will 2011 Be the Year of Innovation?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThe confetti from the New Year’s celebrations has settled, and drugmakers are busy planning their activities for 2011. Some people make New Year’s resolutions in hopes of bettering themselves or adopting good habits. After its recent disappointments, the pharmaceutical industry likely will resolve to improve its research and development (R&D) efforts. Read more »

Eli Lilly: the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Everyman

Erik Greb PharmTech editorWall Street analysts gave Eli Lilly (Indianapolis, IN) executives the third degree last Thursday when the company presented its third-quarter results. Lilly’s revenue had increased only 2%, mostly because it had raised its prices. Although demand for its products had stayed flat, the company boosted its profits by 38% mostly through layoffs and cost-cutting measures. The patents on many of the company’s top drugs (e.g., Zyprexa and Actos) will expire in the next few years, however, and no new drugs seem poised to replace them. Analysts wanted to know how Lilly would weather the storm. Read more »

AstraZeneca Versus the European Commission

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeCompanies always want the longest patent protection possible for their products — and with good reason considering the immense costs of R&D. However, some companies go a little too far in seeking patent protection to the point that they may even try to mislead the regulators in order to extend the life of patents. Read more »

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