Tuesday, May 26, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 7:21 AM
Drugmaker Shire, which is based for tax purposes in Ireland but operates from Wayne and Exton, reportedly hired investment bank Citi because it expects larger pharmaceutical companies to make takeover offers in the wake of other tax-induced deals.

Reuters reported Shire hired Citi. Citi declined comment, according to Reuters.

Shire's best selling drug is Vyvanse, which is prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder.

David Sell @ 7:21 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, June 16, 2014, 6:18 AM
Medical device maker Medtronic said Sunday that it will buy rival Covidien for $42.9 billion, which will help Medtronic challenge Johnson & Johnson and avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes.

Medtronic is headquartered in Minneapolis. Covidien's leadership operates from a facility south of Boston, but it is officially registered in Ireland, which has much lower corporate taxes than the United States. Covidien had been in Bermuda, another tax haven. Medtronic will keep operational control in Minneapolis, but officially register in Ireland.

The deal, first reported Saturday by the Wall Street Journal, is another example of a health-care company trying to acquire another at least partly to shift tax domicile to Ireland or other low-tax countries. In the lexicon of accounting, it is called a tax inversion.

David Sell @ 6:18 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, June 13, 2014, 9:15 AM
Having fended off Pfizer - for now, at least - AstraZeneca struck a much smaller deal to license a potential asthma drug being developed by Synairgen.

AstraZeneca is based in the United Kingdom - London for now, but moving the headquarters to Cambridge - and has operations in Wilmington and Newark, Del. Synairgen is also based in the UK.

The Synairgen compound, for now called SNG001, is in the second of three phases of clinical trials, so the outcome is far from certain on whether it can treating respiratory tract viral infections in patients with severe asthma. SNG001 supports the immune system by correcting a deficiency which makes patients vulnerable to respiratory tract viral infections, according to an AstraZeneca statement.

David Sell @ 9:15 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, June 12, 2014, 7:50 AM
U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger spoke at a Temple University meeting held to discuss the misuse of prescription drugs. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Zane Memeger, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Peter Doukas, dean of Temple University’s School of Pharmacy, hosted a daylong series of discussions under the title of “Rx for Prevention: Preventing and Responding to Prescription Drug Abuse on Campus.”

Villanova helped organize the event, but the site was the Howard Gittis Student Center on Temple's North Philadelphia campus. A story on the gathering appeared in Thursday's Inquirer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last year that middle age and older adults are the groups most often misusing prescription opioid painkillers, but teenagers and young adults are other problem groups. While they don't have the achy bones of older citizens, young adults sometimes believe they are invincible, which is especially dangerous when mixed with ignorance about the potential danger of prescription drugs. In March of this year, CDC researchers said family, friends and doctors were the most common source of opioid painkillers obtained illegally. (Link here.)

David Sell @ 7:50 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 5:43 AM
Foreign language teachers will be happy to learn that a European pharmaceutical industry executive told Bloomberg News that drugmakers are reacting to the GlaxoSmithKline scandal in China by hiring more Chinese-speaking personnel. A link to the story is here.

Bloomberg reported that Chinese police and prosecutors are looking into whether now-former GSK British national Mark Reilly helped set up and expand sales departments that offered bribes to doctors in return for prescribing drugs. GSK, which has operations in and around Philadelphia, is based in London and also faces a U.K. criminal probe. GSK has said it is cooperating with authorities in those countries.

“Some companies are having more Chinese people in key positions,” said Richard Bergstroem, director general of the Brussels-based European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, according to Bloomberg. “In order to do audits further down in the organization, and in order to understand what’s going on, they need people on the ground. Preferably you have someone who speaks the local language.”

David Sell @ 5:43 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 7:46 AM
(AP Photo/George Widman)
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., will send out chief financial officer Eyal Desheh to juggle, er, talk to analysts Tuesday when he and they gather at the Goldman Sachs 35th Annual Global Healthcare Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Desheh might as well be juggling because Teva has a lot of balls in the air.

Last week, Teva said it would acquire privately held Labrys Biologics, Inc. for $200 million up front and as much as $625 million more if Labrys' key drug for migraine pain pans out.

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POSTED: Monday, June 9, 2014, 7:41 AM
Drugmaker Merck & Co., said Monday morning that it will buy Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for about $3.85 billion.

The deal values Idenix at $24.50 per share.

Merck is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and has facilities in the Philadelphia region.

David Sell @ 7:41 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, June 9, 2014, 7:26 AM
Philadelphia attorney Stephen Sheller is a scourge of the pharmaceutical industry because he and other lawyers in his firm help whistleblowers expose bad or illegal activities of drug companies and bring product liability lawsuits.

The laws designed to help protect patients and taxpayers also encourage whistleblowers by giving them a portion of the penalties paid by drug companies. An attorney then gets paid from the whistleblower's share.

Sheller and his wife, Sandra, passed on some that cash recently with a $2.5 million gift to expand the Drexel University 11th Street Family Health Services Center in North Philadelphia. The gift was announced in February and the groundbreaking was Friday at the center, which is a couple blocks south of Girard.

Stephen and Sandra Sheller (sharing the shovel) donated $2.5 million to expand a Drexel University community health center in North Philadelphia. (David Sell / Staff)
David Sell @ 7:26 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog
David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Reach David at dsell@phillynews.com.

David Sell