The earnings reports for the biggest of Big Pharma are all in. Bayer reported last week, making it possible to see how they stacked up as they came into the new year. There are no big surprises. Pfizer and Merck, with ongoing patent issues and reorganizations, saw their positions fall a couple of notches, and AbbVie, having been spun off from Abbott Laboratories at the beginning of the year, didn't quite make the top 10. Its disappearance allowed Eli Lilly to make the list. It also helped Bayer HealthCare move up a couple of notches.
After the major patent crashes of 2012, last year was more of a transitional period. Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and Bayer saw their revenues rise, although only J&J and Bayer had an appreciable change. Bayer's pharma revenues, combined with its consumer health unit, saw revenue growth of 7.6% based on dollars. J&J's number was up 6.7%, driven in large part by its pharma division. The others were flat or had growth of less than 3%.
Any industry that's undergoing as much change as biopharma is always looking for leadership. Old marketing practices are being blown apart, R&D is being subjected to emergency surgery, drug prices surge ever higher, spurring a growing backlash from payers.
In this constantly shifting panorama you'll find a group of executives who are forging new paths for others to follow. This year, the third for Fierce, we present the men and women whose influence is being felt across the industry.
Influence, of course, isn't always a force for good. But it can be. To be truly influential in an industry, you need to be able to persuasively explain new methods that can exert a powerful hold on colleagues in the same global field. Some of this year's group have excelled in that regard.
We hope you enjoy this year's report. And please offer any suggestions you may have for next year's project on the influentials.
Layoffs are always big news in pharma, as they are seen as an indicator of the health of the industry. Companies don't like to have to announce them, but when they decide to, getting plenty of attention becomes important. That is to impress upon investors that their CEOs are making the hard decisions needed to keep costs in line. Of course employees are interested. They know from the inside what is about to happen, and having lived through the awful anticipation, they want to see what the carnage is really going to be.
The patent cliff is often the big culprit. One might think that a one-to-one relationship could be graphed between what is happening with the patent cliff and layoffs, but that is not the case. Pharma analysis company EvaluatePharma has forecast that there were $41 billion in patent sales at risk in 2011, a year in which the top 10 pharma layoffs amounted to 26,500. In 2012, the peak year, EvalutePharma said a whopping $67 billion was at risk. In that year, the top layoffs tallied more than 34,600. Then in 2013, when at-risk sales fell to only $29 billion, we have a total for the top 10 of nearly 27,900.
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With a revolutionary approach to hepatitis C and a price tag of $84,000 per 12-week treatment course, analysts expected big sales from Gilead's Sovaldi. Some even forecast it would reach $9 billion or more by 2017, at which level it would surpass Pfizer's Lipitor to take the crown for biggest-selling drug of all time. But none expected the exponential growth the drug is posting right now.
Sleep drugs have been the root of plenty of safety worries over the years, especially when it comes to driving while under their influence. Now, just a week after the wrap of one of the highest-profile cases to revolve around Ambien generic zolpidem--Kerry Kennedy's--the European Medicines Agency's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee is recommending updates to its product information to underscore the drug's associated risks.
On Thursday, Novartis won European approval for its injectable Xolair to treat chronic hives--the first such product cleared there for patients who don't respond to antihistamines alone.
Bristol-Myers Squibb turned in improved financial results last year, in part by cutting costs after refining its focus, like its decision to drop its diabetes drug development partnership with AstraZeneca. The drugmaker is continuing that trend by tightening its manufacturing operations in Ireland and cutting about 160 jobs.
The largest drugstore chains have been in a legal battle with Pfizer, accusing it of conspiring to keep generics of its antidepressant Effexor XR out of their stores for years. Now they will have to deal with losing some of the real thing. Pfizer is recalling three lots of the drug after a pharmacist discovered a capsule of one of Pfizer's heart pills in an Effexor XR bottle, a potentially fatal combo.
While most drugs from India are generics, sometimes Indian products are used by Big Pharma for their top brands, like AstraZeneca's Nexium.
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