Friday, October 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 8:57 AM
Gurney in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. (AP Photo, File)
Georgia and Missouri resumed capital punishment Tuesday and Wednesday, using lethal injections of drugs, and Florida is scheduled join the pack Wednesday evening.

Big or mid-size drug companies have seen the public relations problem of saying they are all about health (and profits) when their drugs are being injected into inmates - however horrible their crimes might have been - for the sake of killing them. The other problem is that most drugmakers can't - or choose not to - track their drugs all the way from factory to patient.

Hospira was one of the last U.S.-based companies with a direct connection to products used in the usual three-drug cocktail, but it put restrictions in place, it said in a statement (link here).

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.”

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.

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.

About this blog
David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

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

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