Medicine cost

It’s Sunday – and that means another Weekly Pharma News Update from Health and Life.  What were the most interesting and important news items of the last week regarding the biopharmaceutical industry?

#1 Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir James Black dies

We were deeply saddened by the tragic news of Sir James Black’s passing.  He is known for developing the beta blocker drugs, which are among the most effective cardiac treatments we have.

#2 Beta-blockers ‘cut cancer spread’

To honor Sir James Black, we mention this news piece, that beta-blockers may reduce mobility of breast cancer.

#3 Saudi Arabia suspends Glaxo diabetes drug Avandia

Saudia Arabia suspends use of Avandia.

#4 Rotarix Vaccine Contamination

FDA warns that the GlaxoSmithKline Rotarix vaccine was contaminated with a pig virus.

#5 GSK taps L’Oreal exec to lead consumer biz

GlaxoSmithKline recruits a L’Oreal executive.  Who better knows how to market to consumers and develop brand loyalty?

#6 Shire advances drug amid Genzyme shortage

Shire releases data that shows it is safe to switch to its new Gaucher’s treatment from Genzyme’s treatment.  This happens at the same time as Genzyme’s was given an FDA enforcement action over quality issues at a production plant.

#7 Pfizer faces $142M in Neurontin damages

Pfizer has been heavily criticized for some of the promotional tactics it has embraced, particularly for neurontin.

#8 When drug makers’ profits outweigh penalties

A thought-provoking, interesting and well written analysis of the economics behind illicit marketing.  If a drug company, after all, can make $1 billion in sales by off-label promotions and only gets a $500 million fine, what is the economically sound choice?

#9 Nexium is a parable of what’s wrong with health care

This opinion piece from Forbes talks about Nexium and how it reflects the darker side of health care today.

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