Archive for category The Pharmaceutical Industry

GlaxoSmithKline affirms policy of anti-corruption amid 14% profits fall

The Guardian, 23 July 2014
Authors: Julia Kollewe

“The GlaxoSmithKline chief executive, Sir Andrew Witty, has reiterated that his company has a “zero tolerance” attitude to the corrupt sales practices it is being accused of in China and other countries. Witty, who is battling to repair GSK’s corporate reputation, was speaking as Britain’s largest drugmaker announced a 14% fall in second-quarter profits to £1.3bn, missing analysts’ forecasts. The company’s shares fell nearly 5% to £14.81, making it the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 index. Profits were hit by competition from generic products and the strong pound. The firm now expects full-year earnings per share to be similar to last year…”

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Medicare Pressed to Bargain on Drug Costs

Author: Julie Appleby
Kaiser Health News, 24 July 2014

“Medicare could save billions if Congress overcame its reluctance to anger the drug industry and allowed the program to demand rebates or negotiate prices, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said Wednesday. He added that’s something polls show many Americans support… “We could save money, lower the deficit, and not ask seniors to pay more,” said Waxman, a long-standing drug industry critic who is retiring at the end of this session. “The only opposition is from drug companies because they will make a little less money if they have someone negotiating prices with them.” He spoke just hours before the maker of Sovaldi — Gilead Sciences — reported record sales of $5.7 billion in the first 6 months of the year. The drug industry has long opposed price controls, or allowing the government to negotiate for Medicare drug prices…”

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Gilead reports $5.8 billion in sales of hepatitis C drug

Washington Post, 23 July 2014
Authors: Chad Terhune and Eryn Brown

“Amid concerns over the high cost of its new treatment for hepatitis C, drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc. reported $5.8 billion in sales for its blockbuster Sovaldi drug in the first half of 2014. The successful product launch boosted Gilead’s second-quarter results released Wednesday, but the drug’s price tag of $1,000 per pill continues to upset lawmakers, health insurers and state Medicaid programs worried about the negative effect on healthcare costs…”

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The Feds Go After FedEx for Shipping Drugs

Author: Karen Weise
Bloomberg Businessweek, July 18

“Shipping giant FedEx (FDX) has been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for delivering drugs for illegal online pharmacies. FedEx denies the charges, which could carry a fine of more than $1.6 billion. The case is the government’s latest attempt to hamper questionable online businesses by cutting off access to critical yet more established parts of their supply chains…”

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NHS medicines watchdog lowers bar for statins prescriptions

Author: Sarah Boseley
The Guardian, 18 July 2014

“Around 40% of the adult population could be offered cholesterol-busting statins drugs by their doctors, under official guidance from the NHS medicines watchdog. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) confirmed the draft recommendation it made in February, which sparked a row among doctors over alleged over-prescribing. Some critics accused Nice’s guideline group of close ties with the pharmaceutical industry…”

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Who is paying your doctor?

BMJ 2014;349:g4601
Author: Clare Dyer
“After years of scandals over conflicts of interest, a new era is about to begin in which drug companies will be obliged to disclose the details of payments they make to doctors….Moves are afoot in the UK and elsewhere in Europe to make public the extent to which individual doctors benefit from drug industry sponsorship and consultancy fees. The idea is to enable patients to make up their own minds whether decisions about their treatment might be affected by their doctors’ commercial interests. The same is happening in the US.”
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National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Bill 2014

Bills Digest No. 7, 2014-15 14 July 2014, Parliamentary Library, Parliament of Australia
Author: Leah Ferris
“The purpose of the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Bill 2014 (the Bill) is to amend the National Health Act 1953 (the Act)1 to increase the co-payment and Safety Net amounts for items listed under either the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Schedule (PBS Schedule) or the Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (RPBS). In particular the Bill will: increase the co-payment for general patients by $5.00 (to $42.70) and the co-payment for concessional card holders by $0.80 (to $6.90) 2 and increase the safety net for general patients by ten per cent each year for four years and the safety net for concessional patients by two prescriptions each year for four years.3″
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When does medical confidentiality become unjustified secrecy?

Croakey, the Crikey Health Blog, online 10 July 2014
Authors: Marie McInerney/ Adam Stakevicius
“The Consumers Health Forum says Medicine Australia’s proposed new code of conduct has “failed to put in place transparency safeguards against the schmoozing of doctors to influence prescribing”.  In the post below, CEO Adam Stankevicius says this is the latest step in a “disturbing trend towards unjustified and unacceptable secrecy” where the “camouflage of confidentiality” is also blocking access to valuable data about the effectiveness of healthcare treatment and services.”
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Drug treatments in people with intellectual disability and challenging behaviour: Time to rethink?

BMJ 2014;349:g4323
Authors: Peter Tyrer, Sally-Ann Cooper, Angela Hassiotis
“Do we still need to be reminded that the drug treatment of people with intellectual disability is often prolonged and not without dangers? We probably do.”
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FDA has free-speech, safety issues to weigh in review of ‘off-label’ drug marketing rules

Washington Post, 9 July 2014
Author: Brady Dennis

“Should a pharmaceutical sales rep be allowed to tell a doctor that Topamax, a drug approved to treat seizures and prevent migraine headaches, might also help combat alcohol dependence? Or suggest the epilepsy drug Neurontin could also help treat bipolar disorders or insomnia? Or offer data showing that any number of other drugs could have uses beyond those listed on their labels? For decades, the answer overwhelmingly has been no.

Prompted in part by recent federal court decisions, the FDA is reviewing its rules on what kind of data drug companies should be allowed to distribute to doctors regarding off-label uses, as well as how they should respond to unsolicited questions from physicians about those uses. Its goal is to issue new guidelines by the end of the year.”

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