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 »

Spot Shortages and New Approvals for US Influenza Vaccine

Recently, after reading about the severity of this year’s flu season, I finally went and got my vaccine, which my doctor had been out of when I tried in October. I received one of the last doses the clinic had on hand, and two other places I called were already out. Apparently, others in the US have been experiencing similar situations. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg posted Jan. 14 on the FDA blog that vaccines are available but FDA is monitoring spot shortages. Read more »

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 »

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 »

Bayer and “the Fairer Sex”

Erik Greb PharmTech editorHaven’t we heard this story before? Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals faces a class action suit alleging that it discriminates against its female employees. In late May, the class bringing the suit expanded to include female sales representatives and all women in the company’s Consumer Care unit. The employees’ complaint alleges that Bayer is hostile toward women, pays them less than it pays men, and retaliates against women who object to these conditions. 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 »

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 »

Women’s Victory at Novartis—and Setback in the Senate

Erik Greb PharmTech editorAt the end of a week that saw several major companies announce job cuts, the pharmaceutical workforce finally got some good news on Friday. Manhattan US District Judge Colleen McMahon said that she expected to approve an agreement between Novartis Pharmaceuticals (Basel) and a class of 6200 women, thus settling a gender-discrimination lawsuit. “It is the rare settlement where economic damages are compensated in full,” the judge said, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. Read more »

Novartis Could Apply Minds and Math to R&D

Erik Greb PharmTech editorLast Monday, I argued that renewed investment in research and development would be the pharmaceutical industry’s surest route back to prosperity. An investment that Novartis (Basel) made a few days later indicated that the company seems to agree with me. What’s more, the investment will create new jobs in the US. Read more »

Novartis Versus Alcon: The Saga Continues

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeHaving acquired 77% of Alcon, Novartis now has its eyes on the remaining few shares, which lie in the hands of minority shareholders, but will it be able to acquire them? Novartis says yes — and that it has the law on its side — but Alcon says no — and that it also has the law on its side. Read more »

Next Page »