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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: January, 2012

POSTED: Monday, January 23, 2012, 9:37 AM

Zane Memeger, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, spoke with The Inquirer last week about his office's efforts to fight health-care fraud.

Memeger graduated from James Madison University and then the University of Virginia Law School. He prosecuted cases as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia, then worked in private practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Center City. Pharmaceutical companies were among his clients. He then returned as the U.S. Attorney in 2010.

Monday's Inquirer story is here. Below is the extended version of that Q&A.

POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012, 7:07 AM

The recent drug development disappointments for AstraZeneca prompted several Wall Street analysts to tell Bloomberg News that they expect the company to look at acquiring other companies in the future.

AstraZeneca is based in London, but has a U.S. headquarters in Wilmington and a factory in Newark, Del. AstraZeneca bought MedImmune, Inc., in 2007 for about $15.2 billion.

The schizophrenia drug Seroquel faces patent expiration and cholesterol drug Crestor faces competition. The setbacks were in experimental drugs for diabetes, ovarian cancer and depression, prompting Credit Suisse’s Luisa Hector to rate the stock as "underperform."

POSTED: Thursday, January 19, 2012, 10:54 AM

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $158 million to settle charges with the state of Texas over allegations that the global drug manufacturer overcharged through Medicaid and illegally promoted the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal to doctors and other providers for use in children and young patients.

The trial on those charges began Jan. 10 in Austin, Tex., which is where the settlement was announced.

The Texas court case was just one of dozens involving the J&J and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary. J&J is in New Brunswick, N.J., and Janssen is in nearby Titusville. The Texas case was filed in 2004. J&J is reportedly also negotiating a settlement with federal government, but there are 63 individual cases pending in Philadelphia.

POSTED: Thursday, January 19, 2012, 6:36 AM

Like many in Big Media, Big Pharma has a role in the intellectual property debate, which escalated this week with Wikipedia and some other web sites going dark and other sites protesting proposed legislation being discussed in Congress.

The House bill is called Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate bill is Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

The issue boils down to stealing content - text, images, video, anything - from a web site without the original creator's permission. Most of the attention went to movie and TV producers, which don't want their shows taken without compensation. The laws would allow those producers to move to shut down sites taking their material.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 10:17 AM

Endo Pharmaceuticals president and chief executive officer, Dave Holveck, said that his company is spending money on data crunching.

Endo's third-quarter filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed an increase in spending on research and development in that quarter compared with the same period in 2010, which could represent a slight difference from the industry trends. However, there are caveats in that.

First, with the $2.9 billion acquisition of AMS, the Endo financial reports for the second half of 2011 will have an apples-to-oranges-comparison element to them.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 8:20 AM

Endo Pharmaceuticals officially broke ground Tuesday afternoon on a new headquarters in Malvern. (Don't tell anyone, but the foundation is already down.)

If anybody was unsure about the appeal of boring-but-important infrastructure to business, Endo chief executive officer Dave Holveck made it clear at Tuesday afternoon's ceremony.

"The turnpike exit was absolutely critical," Holveck said during an interview after the speeches, including that of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

POSTED: Monday, January 16, 2012, 8:43 AM

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued another warning to health care providers not to take short cuts to obtain injectable cancer drugs that are in short supply.

Most of drug shortages are with cancer medicine helping relatively small populations and delivered via injection in hospitals, but some ADHD drugs are reportedly also in short supply.

But patients (or their families) don't care about the size of their population. They just want safe and effective drugs.

POSTED: Friday, January 13, 2012, 6:02 AM

Novartis said early Friday morning that it would cut 1,960 jobs in the United States within the next few months to deal with the impending loss of revenue from a key drug and the loss of potential revenue from a drug the company hoped would help its cause.

Novartis is based in Basel, Switzerland, and it made the announcement before the Swiss stock exchanged opened Friday.

The cuts will mean job losses for 1,630 sales representatives in the U.S.

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
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