The Weekly Pharma News Update #5

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Another Sunday, another Pharma news update from Health and Life.  What were the biggest news items of the last week and what might they mean?

#1 Diabetes Heart Treatments May Cause Harm

Recent data indicates that aggressive control of diabetic patients markers related to disease like cholesterol levels may actually cause more harm than good.

We’ve already pointed out that science does not always dictate clinical guidelines, so we’re not surprised.  Just disheartened.

#2 FDA’s New Plavix Black-Box Warning Could Trigger Surge in CYP2C19 Testing

The FDA has added a black box warning on Plavix.  Up to 14% of those who use it may be genetically predisposed to a poor response.

Will this just confuse people?  Could it be good news for Effient, a rising competitor?

#3 Britain’s AstraZeneca wins first trial in case alleging psychiatric drug Seroquel caused harm

AstraZeneca wins the first trial out of thousands alleging that its medication Seroquel caused diabetes.  The case was brought by Ted Baker, 61.

#4 Pfizer drops Viagra infringement case against Lilly

Pfizer drops 8 year old patent infringement lawsuit against Eli Lilly over Viagra.

#5 Sanofi agrees to boost female reps’ pay

Sanofi agrees to settle class action lawsuit alleging that female sales reps were underpaid and pay $15.4 million.

#6 Portola, Merck anticoagulant shows strong response

Betrixaban, a Factor Xa inhibitor, has shown efficacy in a study of 508 patients for controlling major bleeding in atrial fibrillation and for some stroke patients.

Other factor X inhibitors like Apixaban seem to be much further along the pathway to development.

#7 Abbott CEO pay drops 7% to $26.2M

Chief of Abbot Laboratories Miles White had a 7% decrease in his package – but still made $26.2 million.

#8 The Sopranos Are Stealing More Drugs Each Year

A recent high profile theft of pharmaceutical drugs from a Lilly distribution center has raised the question – how often does such theft happen?  And how big a problem is it?

#9 Don’t Bet Against Avastin: Roche’s $55,000 Cancer Drug Thrives on Bad News

Some thoughts on what’s going on with Roche’s Avastin, a monoclonal antibody treatment for cancer that is controversial.  On the one hand, it does have some benefit – on the other, Avastin is extremely expensive and the benefit is limited.

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Pharmaceutical analyst who loves blogging about health and medical issues. Has written more than 150 articles and a book on attention deficit disorder. Correctly predicted delayed approval of Bydureon, approval of Provenge by FDA, and the non-approval of Acthar on June 11.

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