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 »

Sanofi Campaign Targets Counterfeit Medicines

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropePassengers travelling via Air France this December will see an in-cabin movie made by Sanofi to raise awareness about the dangers of counterfeit drugs.

According to Sanofi’s video, up to 10% of the world’s medicines can be counterfeit. In industrialised countries, counterfeit medicines are rare and many patients and consumers may not be fully aware of the dangers. In other locations, however, such as some countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and in emerging markets, counterfeit medicines may comprise 20–30% of the market. Travellers are not always aware of the risk when venturing to another country. 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 »

Why Sanofi’s Recent Job Cuts Could be Worse

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeYesterday, Sanofi issued a press statement titled “Sanofi provides information on the adaption of its activities in France through 2015.” Read past the headline and you quickly realise that the ‘adaption of activities’ involves eliminating around 900 jobs at the company’s sites France by 2015. You can read the statement here.

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Sanofi Could Be Top By 2012

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeWith 2011 sales of approximately $54.1 billion, Pfizer currently holds the crown as the world’s largest drugmaker, but next year may see the pharma giant usurped from its throne by Sanofi and Novartis, who will claim pole and second position respectively in the global pharmaceutical rankings. Pfizer, meanwhile, will drop to third place, and is likely to remain there for the foreseeable future, according to analysis firm EvaluatePharma. 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 »

Could Wild Gudgeon Be Canaries in a Coal Mine?

Erik Greb PharmTech editor

Concern about pharmaceuticals in our water supply has been in the public consciousness for a few years now. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency found traces of various drugs in fish caught in rivers that receive effluent from wastewater-treatment plants. The drugs were believed to come from doses that people had excreted or flushed down the toilet. In response, FDA updated its guidelines for disposing of drugs. New research, however, shows another potential source of drugs in our waterways. Read more »

A Call for Clarity about Vaccines

Erik Greb PharmTech editorAs I wrote last week, the market for vaccines is expanding, and the newswires have stories about these products almost daily. Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, to name just two major players, are increasing investments in research and manufacturing capacity for these therapies. Kalorama Information predicts that sales of pediatric vaccines will grow even more quickly than sales for adult vaccines. Yet drugmakers have surely noticed that not all publicity about vaccines has been positive. 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 »

Diligence Is Our Due

Erik Greb PharmTech editorIn 2010, the US House of Representatives’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held two hearings after scandalous cGMP violations at McNeil’s Puerto Rico facilities came to light. Former FDA Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein told the Committee that the agency would review McNeil’s plan for correcting deficiencies to ensure that the corrective actions were effective. “FDA intends to keep a close eye on these facilities until the company earns our confidence back,” said Sharfstein. Read more »

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