It is not as if Israeli drugmaker Teva didn’t already have enough on its plate, what with its CEO having been shown the door, a court overturning patents to its key moneymaker and investors getting restive. On top of that, it is having to recall nearly half a million units of a Type 2 diabetes drug that it picked up in its Actavis buyout.
The drugmaker is recalling 12 lots, comprising 499,320 units of 2.5-mg extended-release tablets of Glipizide, an oral rapid-and short-acting treatment for Type 2 diabetes. The problem is that the product missed dissolution specs at the 10-month testing period. As its letter to retailers points out, that could be a problem for people with diabetes because if the active ingredient is released too quickly then their blood sugars may rise.
The voluntary nationwide recall began Jan. 30. The drug is manufactured under the Watson Laboratories brand. It is actually made in a plant in Cincinnati, OH by contractor Patheon.
The drug is one Teva got in its $40.5 billion buyout of Actavis, the generics business of Allergan. That deal and the debt laid on top of Teva were among the brewing issues that led to Erez Vigodman’s departure this month. Vigodman’s exit came after months of turmoil at the Israeli pharma.
Last year, it faced lengthy delays to its $40.5 billion pickup of Allergan’s generics unit. Between that and a tough pricing environment in the U.S., by the time the deal closed, investors weren’t as revved up by it. Then in December, generics CEO Siggi Olafsson—a big supporter of the Allergan deal—unexpectedly left.
All of this leaves Teva looking for a new CEO and pondering its future, with some analysts wondering if it is time for the company to split itself apart. That is a possibility that might be made more difficult after a court recently upturned four patents on long-acting multiple sclerosis star Copaxone, putting billions of dollars of revenue at risk.