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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: March, 2013

POSTED: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 11:44 AM
Shire P.L.C. has grown from about 100 local workers to around 1,100 since it moved to Wayne in 2004. (Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer)

Drugmaker Shire, Plc., said Tuesday it acquired privately-held Premacure AB, a Swedish company developing a treatment for a rare eye disease primarily found in infants.

Neonatology would be a new therapeutic area for Shire, which is headquartered in Ireland but operates as much from Wayne in Chester County. (The company is planning a U.S. headquarters move to Malvern.)

Premacure is based in Uppsala, Sweden, and is developing a protein replacement therapy to prevent "retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)." The rare disorder can cause blindness in premature infants. The drug is in phase II trials.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 6:56 AM

IInterpol, the international police agency, said Tuesday morning from its headquarters in Lyon, France, that 29 pharmaceutical companies had contributed money to help Interpol catch people peddling fake medicine.

By Big Pharma standards, it was not a lot of money - 4.5 million Euros, which converts to $5.86 million - but enough to establish Interpol's Pharmaceutical Crime Programme, which the agency said was to further work its Medical Product Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) unit.

“With no country, no drug, no medical product immune from counterfeiting, a global effort is needed to combat this threat which puts the lives of millions of people at risk every single day,” said Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in a statement. “This support from a group of 29 companies from the pharmaceutical industry forms a bridge between the public and private sectors and will assist Interpol and each of its 190 member countries to more effectively tackle the problem of medical product counterfeiting.”

POSTED: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 3:56 PM

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said Tuesday that it will consolidate employees from several facilities in suburban Philadelphia, with about 1900 moving from two facilities in Upper Merion to Upper Providence during the next two to four years.

Glaxo spokeswoman Melinda Stubbee said there are no planned layoffs in this portion of the corporate consolidation. However, Glaxo will also move a unit from Cambridge, Mass., to Upper Providence but not all 60 employees in that unit will be offered jobs in the new location.

The company has two facilities, what it calls Upper Merion East and Upper Merion West, on Swedeland Road. The East facility will remain in use and have some expansion. The West facility probably will be sold, Stubbee said, with employees moving to Upper Providence.

POSTED: Monday, March 11, 2013, 7:14 AM

Princeton Prof. Uwe Reinhardt identified a huge part of the problem of controlling health-care costs by eliminating waste and fraud in America when he said at last week's Wharton Economic Summit 2013, "We all talk a big game until we get sick."

At that point, of course, many people would argue that no expense (for someone else) should be spared in curing whatever ails them....or their mother, or grandfather or, yes, their child.

Pharmaceutical and medical device companies play off that idea in arguing for the highest prices possible.

POSTED: Friday, March 8, 2013, 10:42 AM

Plenty of folks in medicine and pharmaceuticals hope that targeted therapy and personalized medicine will lead to better treatments - and big revenue. But the University of Pennsylvania's Ezekiel Emanuel says hold on a minute.

The life science industry theory is that after genes are spliced and diced to create a drug specifically tailored for a real, live human named Bob or Emily (more on her in a moment) , no government (taxpayers) or private insurers (policyholders) is going deny reimbursing the high price applied by corporations and their sometimes non- or not-for-profit partners.

Emanuel, a doctor and bioethicist, is vice provost for global initiatives and chairman of the department of medical ethics and health care policy at Penn. He worked with the White House in formulating the Affordable Care Act.

POSTED: Friday, March 8, 2013, 5:12 PM
Johnson and Johnson (AP Photo)

In the first trial among thousands of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson's over its DePuy artificial hip, a Los Angeles jury awarded a 65-year-man $8.3 million in compensatory damages.

The California state court jury found the hip was flawed in its design, but did not agree with the man that J&J failed to adequately warn patients and doctors about potential problems. That meant the jury awarded no punitive damages.

J&J said it will appeal.

POSTED: Friday, March 8, 2013, 4:50 PM

 Johnson & Johnson's consumer products division has stopped selling - and recalled from stores remaining stocks of - several versions of its K-Y Jelly brand of personal lubricants.

Those products are made by the company's McNeil-PPC unit, based in Skillman, N.J. The products included in the recall are K-Y Tingling Jelly, K-Y Sensitive Jelly and K-Y Silk-E Vaginal Moisturizer and Personal Lubricant. No other K-Y brand products were recalled.

McNeil spokeswoman Samantha Lucas said the decision was not safety related and consumers can use the products if they have them. She said the recall decision was made because the company would need to submit new data on the products to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clearance of what is considered a medical device.

POSTED: Thursday, March 7, 2013, 6:48 AM
Teva Pharmaceuticals officials (from left) CFO Eyal Desheh, Chairman Phillip Frost and CEO Jeremy Levin during opening bell ceremonies of the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew / Associated Press, File)

 Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd., board chairman Phillip Frost, who grew up in South Philadelphia, said in an interview with Bloomberg Markets magazine that the drugmaker can't afford to be nostalgic about operating as it did in the past.

“Teva is and always will be an Israeli company with strong Israeli roots,” Frost told Bloomberg, referring to the company headquarters. The Americas headquarters is in North Wales, Montgomery County.

“Teva also must act like a global pharmaceutical company," Frost said. "There’s a lot of nostalgia for the good old days when it was a family company and the board got together for a little lunch. That’s not what Teva is nowadays.”

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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