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Archive for the ‘Pharmaceutical Companies’ Category

lamictal-tabletsThe AP (5/11) reported that the FDA “has approved a dissolvable version of GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s blockbuster” medication “Lamictal [lamotrigine], the company said Monday.” The medicine “is prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy or bipolar disorders,” and the “company said a dissolvable version, which disintegrates on the patient’s tongue, is important because people with those disorders can have a hard time swallowing pills.” The company also said the FDA “approved Lamictal ODT in 25mg, 50 mg, 100 mg and 200 mg strengths, and it is expected to be available by July.” The Triangle Business Journal (5/11, Drew) also covered the story.

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In the Wall Street Journal (4/16) Health Blog, Jonathan D. Rockoff wrote that a new study from ZS Associates, a marketing consultant firm, found that pharmaceutical “reps don’t get in the door to see a doctor on 13 percent of their visits.” Jaideep Bajaj, managing director of sales and marketing consultants ZS Associates, said that the “18 million wasted sales calls each year suggest the extent of a physician backlash against pharma’s marketing push.” Two-billion dollars a year in salaries and expenses represent the cost of the wasted calls to pharmaceutical companies. The Health Blog added that “ZS Associates hasn’t been tracking the success rate for rep visits for very long but it’s clear that doctor access is getting squeezed for the” pharmaceutical-company “detailers.” Pharmaceutical companies, “most recently Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer before that, have reacted by slashing the number of sales reps.”

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Forbes (3/30, Herper) reported that statins “lost their position as the top-selling” medications “in the US last year, thanks to the fact that two top brands have lost patent protection and are being replaced by cheaper generics, according to industry consultants IMS Health.” Forbes noted, “With patents running out on old blockbusters and new medicines underperforming,” pharmaceutical “companies are losing the appetite to do the big studies of thousands of patients that have been a major scientific driver of the blockbuster age.” In addition, cholesterol medications “were replaced at the top of the US pharmaceutical sales charts by schizophrenia” medications, such as Zyprexa [olanzapine] from Eli Lilly and Seroquel [quetiapine] “from AstraZeneca. Antipsychotics are nearing patent expiry too, and they are controversy magnets.”

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The Wall Street Journal (2/24, Dorman) reported, “Pfizer Inc. has ended development of two late-stage drugs, as part of its previously stated strategy to allocate resources to higher-potential efforts, including pursuing additional uses for its blockbuster fibromyalgia drug Lyrica [pregabalin].” One of the medications, esreboxetine, “was…developed to treat fibromyalgia and the other [known as PD 332,334] was one for generalized anxiety disorder.” Pfizer “will continue to pursue Lyrica as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.” According to the AP (2/25, Johnson), “Neither compound had been seen as a likely blockbuster because other drugs to treat those conditions already are on the market.” The company “said it reviewed results from the first late-stage study for PD 332,334 and all the data for esreboxetine, ‘along with current market dynamics,’ before making the decision.” Pedro Lichtinger, president and general manager of Pfizer’s Primary Care Business Unit, said that “‘while confident in the safety of these compounds, we don’t believe that they provide significant benefit over other therapies’ on the market.”

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Zypreza, Strattera and Cymbalta
Seroquel
Zoloft and Geodon
Invega and Risperdal
Lamictal and Wellbutrin XL
Effexor XR and Pristiq
Abilify
Lexapro

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In the Wall Street Journal (2/19) Health Blog, Vanessa Fuhrmans wrote, “Demand for free prescription drugs continues to skyrocket after already big increases in 2008, drug assistance programs around the country report.” And, much “of the new business is from people recently laid off who have lost their health coverage along with their jobs.” According to the Dispensary of Hope, “the number of patients coming to its dispensing sites in Tennessee and several other states jumped 40 percent to 60 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.” And “the Partnership for Prescription Drug Assistance…reports long lines at every stop for help finding free medications or subsidies as its promotional vans currently tour Texas and New Jersey.” Additionally, mail-order pharmacy Welvista “says the patient-assistance applications it gets from clinics around the state nearly doubled in January.”

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