Last week, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) released dueling statements about the proposal to establish an approval pathway for follow-on biologics that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) is considering. Are the two antagonists advancing the debate? Read more »
President Obama’s plan for lowering the cost of healthcare relies partly on ensuring that affordable generic drugs are available to patients. This strategy is not likely to be palatable to innovator companies, who have tried various ways of delaying generic drugs’ introduction to the market. Read more »
Like a snowball that gets bigger and bigger as it hurtles down the side of a mountain, generic drugs pose an increasingly large threat to branded pharmaceutical companies. Wolters Kluwer Health’s annual analysis reveals that more than 60% of all US prescriptions filled in 2008 were generics. For orally administered medicines, the percentage was even greater. In 2008, 2.4 billion prescriptions were filled for generic drugs, and only 1.4 billion for branded therapies—an unprecedented divide, according to the report.
What’s Big Pharma to do? Read more »
When faced with determined opponents, sports teams sometimes work the referees to win the game. A victory based on an interpretation of the rules is a victory nonetheless. The team of Warner Chilcott (Rockaway, NJ), Medicis Pharmaceutical (Scottsdale, AZ), Roche (Basel), and Stiefel Laboratories (Coral Gables, FL) recently used this tactic in their competition with generic drugmakers. The companies filed citizen petitions with the US Food and Drug Administration in an attempt to delay the approval of generic versions of their antibiotics. Read more »
It’s déjà vu all over again. Little more than a month after Pfizer (New York) announced that it would acquire Wyeth (Madison, NJ), Merck (Whitehouse Station, NJ) and Schering-Plough (Kenilworth, NJ) have unveiled their own merger agreement. The combined company will be called Merck and be based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Schering-Plough CEO Fred Hassan will help during the merger, but Merck’s CEO Richard Clark will lead the combined company. Read more »
It’s official. The wires had been buzzing with rumors for several days, and today Pfizer (New York) announced that it would acquire Wyeth (Madison, NJ) for about $68 billion. The transaction will bolster Pfizer’s pipeline and improve its biopharmaceutical portfolio with the addition of Wyeth’s “Prevnar” pneumococcal vaccine and “Enbrel” arthritis treatment. The resulting company will be so diversified that it expects that no drug will account for more than 10% of its revenue in 2012, according to a Pfizer press release. Read more »
Innovator companies are constantly looking for ways to compete with generic-drug manufacturers. The former have tried to improve or reformulate their products and to extend patent protection. But sufficiently big innovator companies have another option: they can buy their generic competitors. Read more »
Last week, the European Commission (EC) published a preliminary report that described how the makers of branded pharmaceuticals delay the introduction of competing generic medicines. Industry associations for originator companies and generics manufacturers in Europe were quick to weigh in on the report. Now a UK judge has joined the debate. Read more »
I’m not an astrologist, but sometimes you have to wonder whether plans were hatched under a bad sign. It certainly seems that way for “Vytorin,” a cholesterol-lowering drug that combines simvastatin and “Zetia.” The drug, introduced by Merck and Schering-Plough, has suffered damaging revelations. Read more »
Generic drugs, the bugbear of Big Pharma, are gaining market share. Consumers are more likely than before to choose generic drugs over their branded counterparts. One reason could be that more patients now have experience with generic medicines and believe that they are as safe and effective as branded drugs.
But what inspired patients to become familiar with generics in the first place? No doubt a shaky economy and the fact that generics are much cheaper. Read more »