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 »

Is Big Pharma Stifling Innovation?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorBig Pharma has offered many explanations for its anemic pipelines. All of the easy drugs have been discovered. Patent law (or another particular form of regulation) stifles innovation. The economy is forcing us to retrench. Although these explanations may be plausible, they all lay the blame elsewhere. Could Big Pharma’s own actions be discouraging research and development (R&D)? Read more »

Confusing Language and a Dubious Victory for Patients

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThis week, vaccine manufacturers won increased protection from liability in a closely watched case before the US Supreme Court. In Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, the Court ruled that federal law prohibits patients who claim to have been injured by a vaccine from suing the manufacturer. Pfizer hailed the decision as a victory for public health, but its effect is to diminish patients’ recourse when they suffer harm from taking faulty products. Read more »

Pfizer Site Closure “Shocking Wake-Up Call” for UK

Julian Upton Pharm Exec EuropeIt’s not too often that a pharma facility closure tops the TV news headlines but that was the case in the UK this week following Pfizer’s announcement that it is to close the UK-based R&D centre that achieved worldwide fame as “the home of Viagra”. Read more »

A Changing of the Pharma Guard

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor

This week, another pharmaceutical executive has stepped down, Elmar Schnee, head of the pharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany). His departure follows other high-profile changes among the pharmaceutical executive ranks, namley Jeffrey Kindler leaving as head of Pfizer (New York) and Richard Clark turning over the helm of Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, NJ). These former executives and their successors face an all-too familiar challenge—the pressure for successful product development in light of looming patent expirations and the need to implement new strategies for revenue growth. 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 »

Pfizer Takes Biosimilars Plunge

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor Pfizer announced this his week that it had entered into a strategic global agreement for the worldwide commercialization with the Indian biotechnology company Biocon (Bangalore) for biosimilar versions of insulin and insulin analog products (e.g., recombinant human insulin, glargine, aspart, and lispro). The move signals Pfizer’s strategic interest in entering the biosimilars market as well as a continuing focus of building its position in emerging markets. Read more »

Could Lawsuits Threaten Vaccine Makers’ Livelihood?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorDoes federal law shield the makers of vaccines from product-liability lawsuits? Last week, the US Supreme Court began considering this question, which is the heart of a lawsuit against Wyeth, now a part of Pfizer (New York). Read more »

AstraZeneca: Unwitting Advocate for Disclosure?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorHealthcare-reform legislation is not the only federal initiative that is affecting pharmaceutical manufacturers these days. US Attorney General Eric Holder is cracking down on healthcare fraud, including false claims against Medicare and Medicaid. AstraZeneca (London) felt the sting of Holder’s campaign when it agreed last week to pay $520 million to resolve accusations that it marketed its atypical antipsychotic Seroquel illegally. Read more »

Pfizer Fights Transparency

Erik Greb PharmTech editorPatients rely on doctors to make impartial decisions about the most effective treatments for their conditions. In recent years, public advocates have agitated for restrictions on pharmaceutical companies gifts’ (e.g., meals, honoraria, or entertainment) to medical professionals on the grounds that they could unduly influence prescribing habits. In what seems like a fight against transparency, Pfizer (New York) sent employees to Connecticut’s capitol to protest a state bill that would restrict such gifts and require reporting. Read more »

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