The Weekly Pharma News Update

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Health and Life is proud to start a weekly update of news items related to Pharmaceutical issues.

That said, this week’s news is particularly unpleasant.

#1 Glaxo, AstraZeneca Asthma Drugs Need Risk Studies

We’ve written about Advair and its black box warning, so reading this news story came as a bit of a shock.  It seems that concerns about the potential of the long-acting beta agonist part of Advair to increase risk of death is not as settled as we thought.

Considering how popular Advair is, this is major news.

“Asthma patients should avoid long- term use of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Advair and AstraZeneca Plc’s Symbicort, U.S. regulators said”

#2 Senate report links diabetes drug Avandia to heart attacks

Yet another of the diabetes drugs has been linked to a major health catastrophe.  We’ve already had the unpleasant task of writing about the concern for increased risk of heart damage with Actos or Pioglitazone.

And no one wants to be reminded of the Trogilitazone drug disaster.  Is there something fundamentally wrong with this whole class of medications?

“Americans have a right to know there are serious health risks associated with Avandia.”

#3 Victoza, New Diabetes Drug, Soon to Hit Market

Victoza, a major new diabetes drug, will soon hit the market.  This isn’t that new, but it is fairly recent.  The question pharma analysts want to know is, will Victoza be able to achieve meaningful market share before the entry of a once-weekly Byetta?

The answer will lie in Novo-nordisk’s marketing capability.

#4 Judge refuses to dismiss Fosamax case, sets trial

In other somewhat recent news, a lawsuit against Merck claiming Fosamax caused jaw problems was not thrown out of court.  Another lawsuit was reported as dismissed in November.  We’ve written about the Fosamax lawsuits earlier – considering that the company involved is Merck, makers of wonder-drug Vioxx, we lean towards skepticism.

#5 Shire profits higher on sales of Vyvanse

Shire, the makers of ADHD medication Vyvanse, report a 23% increase in profit over the course of a year.  Considering how adroitly they have marketed Vyvanse, it’s not surprising.  With their recent, extremely well done launch of Intuniv, another ADHD med, as well as other long-term use medications, Shire’s profits are likely to go up, up, up.

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