Is Big Pharma Choosing Patients over Patents?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThe pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries have jealously guarded their intellectual property for years. Companies routinely use patents to prevent competitors from making generic versions of their drugs. When pipelines have weakened, companies have developed new formulations or delivery methods to extend patent protection for their established drugs. The economic crisis has only sharpened this reflex.

That’s why news from Ecuador made me do a doubletake. Read more »

The “Micro Shuttle” Express

Erik Greb PharmTech editorWhen pipelines run dry, pharmaceutical companies are more likely to investigate alternative delivery methods as a way of distinguishing their drugs in the marketplace. In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed several intriguing delivery methods created by researchers around the world. I recently wrote about the new technique of encapsulating medicines in magnetite nanoparticles for repeated, long-term delivery. Along similar lines, scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have created “micro shuttles” that can be loaded with drugs and opened remotely. Read more »

Fighting Drug Abuse with Drug Delivery

Erik Greb PharmTech editorReports of teenagers’ pharm parties, Rush Limbaugh’s OxyContin addiction, and the questions surrounding Michael Jackson’s death have kept prescription-drug abuse in the public eye. By requiring manufacturers of opioid drugs to create risk evaluation and mitigation strategies, the US Food and Drug Administration is seeking to reduce opportunities for drug abuse while keeping the therapies available to patients who need them. One pharmaceutical company suggests that, in addition to regulatory solutions, drug abuse could be curbed using drug-delivery strategies. Read more »

Don’t Delay Affordable Healthcare

Erik Greb PharmTech editorPresident 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 »

Which Way Forward for Pharma?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorSpeakers’ comments at the Parenteral Drug Association’s Annual Meeting, held in Las Vegas on Apr. 20-24, 2009, reflected the crisis that pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries face. Presenters alluded to a cloud of challenges (e.g., cost pressures, products that can be duplicated by competitors, and quality-control failures) that has been gathering for some time. Several speakers claimed that small- and large-molecule manufacturers must change now to survive in the short and long terms. But change how? Read more »

A Safer Way to Discard Drugs

Erik Greb PharmTech editorLike everything else, drug products sometimes end up as waste. Lately I’ve tried to reduce the amount of waste I generate and dispose of it carefully. I’ve written before about how flushing unused drugs down the toilet, which was previously recommended, can harm the environment. But what’s the alternative? Read more »

Hope for Bipolar Fish

Erik Greb PharmTech editorAs an editor for Pharmaceutical Technology, I often hear about novel drug-delivery mechanisms. Often they’re high-tech materials such as polymers, hydrogels, or nanoparticles. But a recent Associated Press story revealed a biological-based drug carrier that I hadn’t thought of: fish. Read more »

Two Shades of Green

Erik Greb PharmTech editorAt the moment, the pharmaceutical industry is preoccupied with financial concerns, mainly because of patent expirations, weak pipelines, and our limping economy. But before the current crisis, many companies were devoting greater attention to minimizing the harmful environmental effects of their processes. What if there were a way to address these two concerns at once? Read more »

A Rule for Sam Spade

Erik Greb PharmTech editorWe’ve all seen unsuspecting movie characters laid low by poisoned drinks (as in “The Maltese Falcon”). Similar scenes were in my mind when I heard reports that trace levels of drugs had been found in American cities’ drinking water. That’s why I was happy to see that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had begun to strengthen the regulation of discarded medicines. Read more »

Don’t Drink the Water

Erik Greb PharmTech editorWhen I heard on the radio that tests had revealed trace levels of pharmaceuticals in New York City’s drinking water, I was alarmed. I drink a lot of water, and I take it for granted that it’s safe. I assume it’s been filtered, sterilized, treated, and tested so that it’s healthy and innocuous. Read more »

« Previous Page