The big news for Teva Pharmaceuticals this week was.......still no shovels in the ground in North Philly.
Ok, yes, the world's biggest seller of generic pharmaceuticals had other issues to deal with and we'll get there in a minute.
But first things first.
In late September of 2011, Teva officials and Philly area politicians gathered on the site of the former Budd Co. plant in Northeast Philadelphia to celebrate a new facility for the company. Teva is based in Israel, but its Americas headquarters is in North Wales, Montgomery County.
But there was less happiness within the upper ranks of Teva in the months that followed the groundbreaking and by Jan. 1, 2012 Jeremy Levin was named as the replacement for CEO Shlomo Yanai. Since taking over in May, Levin has been sorting out what he likes and doesn't like about the company.
It is unclear what he thinks of the idea of a new building.
"We will not have any information to share on the proposed distribution center until December at the earliest," spokeswoman Denise Bradley said via email on Wednesday.
Levin has said he plans to spell out his grand vision for the company at an investor day in December.
Meanwhile, this week, the FDA asked Teva to withdraw Budeprion XL, its version of the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL, because it didn't work. The pill, in the 300 milligram size, was made by Impax and distributed by Teva.
The Associated Press's Matthew Perrone wrote this week that this appears to be the first FDA-requested withdrawl driven by consumer complaints and might undermine general confidence in generic drugs
“The lesson is that everyone — from pharmacists to physicians to the FDA — needs to take these reports seriously,” Dr. Tod Cooperman of ConsumerLab, a privately-held company that independently tests drugs and nutrition products, said according to AP. Cooperman said that the vast majority generic drugs work appropriately but added, “consumers will be the first to know when there is a problem.”
Teva's Bradley said, "Upon receiving the communication from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Teva ceased shipment of Impax's 300 mg Budeprion XL. This update to the FDA’s guidance affects the bioequivalence rating of the product and does not reflect any safety issue. Teva's first priority is to our patients and providing them with quality medicines."
Because they can be 50 to 70 percent cheaper than brand-name, patent-protected drugs, the generic versions now make up 80 percent of all the prescriptions written in the U.S. and the generic drug manufacturers' trade group noted that only 27 percent of the nation's drug bill goes to generics.
“There are approximately 10,000 FDA-approved interchangeable generics in the U.S.," Generic Pharmaceutical Association President and CEO Ralph G. Neas said in a statement. "The recall by a single manufacturer of one strength of a generic drug should in no way cast doubt on the impeccable reputation of the generic industry or the FDA in our joint commitment to patient safety.”