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 »

Pharma’s Efforts in Hurricane Aid

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe end of October saw chaos in the Caribbean and then on the east coast of the US, particularly in New York and New Jersey (the location of some of PharmTech’s offices) after hurricane Sandy hit.

The pharmaceutical industry has also been affected by the storm, with several big companies delaying the announcements of their third-quarter financial results. On a consumer and patient-level, medicinal supplies have been affected in the US by looting and power outages affecting the filling of prescriptions. Read more »

Third Quarter Revenues Wounded by Patent Expiries

VLUU L110  / Samsung L110As 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 »

Colored Brain Sparks FDA Warning Letter

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeWarning Letters are a fact of life for the pharmaceutical industry and it can be difficult to avoid them. Not only are warning letters issued by FDA for cGMP deficiencies, letters can also be initiated by marketing or advertising blunders, including the misuse of social media and product websites.

Last week, Eli Lilly received an FDA Warning Letter after the agency’s routine monitoring and surveillance program spotted an image of a colored brain on the website for Amyvid, a diagnostic PET tracer used by healthcare professionals when evaluating Alzheimer’s Disease and other causes of cognitive decline. According to FDA, the brain classifies as misbranding because Amyvid’s product labeling states that images must be displayed and reviewed in black and white. Read more »

Tax Breaks for Big Pharma: A Remedy for Unemployment?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorWorried about our persistently high rate of unemployment (and his bid for re-election), President Obama is urging Congress to pass portions of his jobs bill. In addition to aiding the economy, creating jobs could help reduce the number of people who are forgoing medications, which would be a boon for the pharmaceutical industry. Perhaps with this in mind, the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) has thrown its weight behind a bill it says would create American jobs.

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Eli Lilly’s New Biotech Company Builds on Alliance Strategy

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor Finding ways to fund drug development and commercialization is an ongoing task for the pharmaceutical industry. Although devising financing plans and securing  funding is a mainstay function of emerging and smaller biopharmaceutical companies, it also can  be a task for larger pharmaceutical companies as they evaluate, prioritize, and fund their pipelines and commercial drugs. A case in point is Eli Lilly, which announced this week that it has signed a deal with private investors to form a new biotechnology company with a focus on hospital-based critical care medicines.

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Re-Inventing R&D

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and BioMedTracker, an institutional research service, released results of a study this week that examined the success rate of drugs moving through clinical development during the last seven years. What did the study show? Key findings showed lower success rates in early-stage clinical development compared with previous years and greater success rates for large-molecule drugs compared with small-molecule drugs, two important considerations as pharmaceutical companies re-think their research and development (R&D) models. 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 »

Eli Lilly CEO Calls for Regional Innovation Clusters

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor In the keynote address to a conference on Regional Innovation Clusters on Sept. 23, 2010, John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman, president, and CEO of Eli Lilly, called for federal policies that further encourage regional economic innovation as a key to renewing the nation’s economy. Lechleiter addressed a broad spectrum of policymakers, including members of the Obama administration, at a conference co-hosted by The Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress, the Council on Competitiveness, and the National Association of Development Organizations. Read more »

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