Generic competition, sales woes and R&D disappointments have put revenue on the decline and Merck in hot water, with the pharma giant earlier this month promising to buy back as much as $15 billion in shares. And yesterday, the company started in on a big chunk of that buyback, inking a deal to buy $5 billion of its own shares from Goldman Sachs.
Japan's drugmakers aren't any more immune from generic competition than U.S. pharma companies are. Still the country's second- and third-largest drugmakers are predicting sales growth this year, even as low-cost copies drain away sales of their key products. New drugs are coming in to pick up the slack, the companies said.
Eli Lilly has battled to protect its best-selling drug, the antidepressant Cymbalta, against generic competition but has decided not to stand and fight a lawsuit tying it to the suicide of a 16-year-old boy. The company agreed to settle the litigation in advance of a trial set to begin next month.
The U.K.'s cost-effectiveness watchdog has turned away Afinitor for breast cancer. The Novartis drug doesn't offer enough value for the money, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says.
How is a generic drug's label different from the drug itself? That was one of the many questions posed yesterday as the generics-liability case had its Supreme Court airing.
Lipitor as a loss leader? That's the approach Wegmans' pharmacies are taking. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the grocery store chain offers generic versions of Lipitor for free, as a way to bring in new pharmacy customers. And the promotion must be successful--Wegmans just extended it through the end of this year.
Suffering Big Pharma well knows that primary-care drug spending slumped in the U.S. last year. That's the patent cliff at work. But now, there's a number for that pain: Spending on mass-market meds dropped 1.5% in 2012.
Given all of the lousy earnings reports and patent cliff talk, one might have expected last year to be the biggest ever for getting new generic drugs into the U.S. market. One would be wrong.
Lundbeck has another chance to crow this week, now that its once-monthly version of Abilify has FDA approval. The agency nod comes fast on the heels of another, for the Danish drugmaker's alcohol addiction drug Selincro. This double victory opens the way for Lundbeck to transform turnaround promises into actual sales.
The U.K.-based company had petitioned the agency to block the copycat versions on packaging grounds.