Posts Tagged ‘Medtronic’

Medtronic, a doctor, transparency, and 800K – Remember that former Army doctor accused of faking data in a published study that found positive results for a Medtronic product? Turns out, Medtronic paid him nearly $800,000 over the past three years. Here’s the report from this morning’s WSJmore

RA drug Mabthera: use early, use often – Trials show rituximab, marketed as MabThera, almost completely halts the deterioration of the joints in people showing the first signs of the disease…The latest study on 755 patients shows the drug, when used with the gold standard treatment for early RA methotrexate for a year, not only reduces symptoms but slows joint damage to almost a complete stop if used early enoughmore

Novartis gets approval for…well, you’ll have to read it for yourself. Swiss drugmaker Novartis said Thursday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its Ilaris medicine for the treatment of children and adults with cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome…more

PLUS – Sanofi to donate 100m swine flu vaccines. Nice.


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Do gifts from pharmaceutical companies influence how physicians prescribe? This blog post gives a quick overview of the general angst over this much-flogged question. Let’s forget about the particulars of tchotchkes, samples, dinners, and cheerleaders-as-sales-reps for a moment. Think about the bigger issue – why is there some overhang of “WRONG” constantly overhanging this question of influence and sales? Consider this quote from the post:

“Until these issues are addressed, the drug industry will maintain significant influence over physicians’ prescribing patterns.”

Duh. Who else is supposed to have influence – journalists, politicians, and garbage collectors? Of course drug companies will influence the use of drugs – just as EVERY company in EVERY industry seeks to influence users to use their products. Let’s just change the quote a little bit:

“Until these issues of advertising, speech-making, earmarking, and over-promising are addressed, politicians will maintain significant influence over citizens’ voting patterns.”

“Until these issues of politically-correct agendas, union power, anti-school choice, and undeserved tenure are addressed, teachers will maintain significant influence over students’ learning patterns.”

Some people have very selective views of free markets, free speech, and influence. Just saying…

Medtronic and physician payments. Check out the numbers here. There is a difference between staying (technically) within legal lines, and something that really has an appearance of impropriety. In light of my rant above, I’d like to see a lot healthier dose of good judgment (rather than ten more rounds of regulation). Exposure, in this case, is good for the whole system.

Of course, sometimes things both look bad AND are outside the lines of legality. Allegedly, here may be one of those cases. But this sort of stuff happens everywhere, not just with drug companies. Lest people forget that the problem is corrupt PEOPLE, not simply a single industry.

Bit of a ranting mood this morning. Hopefully by tomorrow there will be some bigger news items to report!


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Some surprises in the new diabetes guidelines issue by the American Diabetes Association and European Association for the Study of Diabetes…more

Speaking of diabetes – we’re paying a lot more over the last few years!

And, a triple dose of diabetes news, including bad news for Avandia.

Medtronic exec says devices are finished?????? Now that’s an interesting PR move!

FDA accepts priority review of expanded Erbitux label.

My favorite headline of the week. Type-1 Diabetes Not So Much Bad Genes as Good Genes Behaving Badly, Stanford Research Shows.

Novo: we have cash and we know how to use it – Novo Nordisk A/S is earmarking as much as $2 billion for takeovers in the next 12 months as the financial crisis forces cash-strapped biotechnology companies onto the market, Chief Financial Officer Jesper Brandgaard said.“We are more or less able to finance in cash acquisitions within the $1 billion to $2 billion range,” Brandgaard said in a phone interview from Copenhagen. “We think there will be opportunities in biotech which we haven’t seen before.”…more

Meet the new team at Pfizer.

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics gets a biological tester approved.

Big Crestor study results could be “game changer” – A forthcoming AstraZeneca study could dramatically increase the market for cholesterol-lowering drugs, otherwise known as statins, which are already pharma’s biggest success story, Forbes writes…more

New “Superbug” antibiotics on the way? – Two experimental antibiotics appear to work safely against an increasingly common and dangerous form of infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, researchers said on Sunday…more

Schering’s new anesthesia-recovery drug looking good – An experimental drug worked many times faster than a standard treatment in helping surgery patients recover from anesthesia, according to a just-published study funded by its developer, Schering-Plough Corp…more

Lashes. Lovely lashes. And an eye-color change, too. Welcome to Lumigan.

$1.4 Billion – “not meaningful” to Eli Lilly. Huh?

Some promising Phase III clinical trial results – Novartis biologic shows great efficacy on a rare autoinflammatory disease. And, Merck‘s Isentress looks good on treatment-naive HIV patients.

Apidra approved for pediatric diabetes – Sanofi-aventis announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Apidra® (insulin glulisine [rDNA origin] injection) to improve glycemic control in children (4 years and older) with diabetes mellitus…more

U.S. drug sales growing much more slowly than forecast – The number crunchers at IMS Health just cut their estimate for growth of U.S. drug sales to 1% to 2% this year– way down from the 4% to 5% they’d previously forecasted, the WSJ reportsmore

BusinessWeek chats with a few pharma CEOs – As part of a package of stories about big pharma, BusinessWeek grabbed the ceo at four drugmakers – Pfizer’s Jeff Kindler; Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Jim Cornelius; Lilly’s John Lechleiter and Roche’s Severin Schwan – to discuss the varied and vexing problems the industry faces. Here are a few of their comments…more

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Merck the latest to make major cuts to its sales force – The unwinding of the Big Pharma sales armies continues apace, with Merck saying late today that it’s cutting its U.S. sales force by 1,200 positions, or about 14% from 8,500 reps at the start of 2007…more (and, in a strange twist, it appears that certain other layoffs were made public via Powerpoint!)

Device industry not immune either: Medtronic to make major cuts – Medtronic Inc on Tuesday said it would eliminate about 1,100 jobs this year, or almost 3 percent of its work force, in businesses whose growth has slowed, including its flagship heart rhythm device unit…more

Cephalon’s Fentora denied wider use – U.S. health officials should reject expanded use of Cephalon Inc’s Fentora pain drug beyond cancer patients because of the potential for abuse of the powerful narcotic, an advisory panel of outside experts said on Tuesday…more

King Pharma’s profitability falls as generic Altace competition ramps up – King Pharmaceuticals Inc posted a 24 percent drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday as sales of its Altace blood-pressure drug plunged due to competition from generics…more

Abbott putting focus on ADHD market – Pay attention! Abbott Laboratories wants you to get excited about its new ADHD drug, but don’t worry, it won’t keep you up all night…more

New version of Novo Seven cleared – Denmark’s Novo Nordisk won U.S. approval to sell a new formulation of a genetically engineered protein therapy that helps the blood clot, regulators said on Friday…more

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