The antitrust crackdown in pharma has moved to Australia. Once again, Pfizer finds itself in the middle of a legal fight over its efforts to hang onto Lipitor sales after the drug went off patent and faced competition from cheaper generics.
Pfizer is on a diet, and it shows. The company pumped up 2013 earnings despite a sizable slide in sales, thanks to layoffs and cost cuts, not to mention the successful spinoff of its animal health business, Zoetis. And it's looking for more of the same for 2014.
The FDA said in an announcement Monday that it had placed the Mohali plant on import alert after inspections in September and December of last year found significant cGMP violations. The agency said the plant will now have to conform to provisions of a consent decree that Ranbaxy agreed to last year, which initially was written to cover its Paonta Sahib and Dewas facilities.
A new study shows that payments do influence doctors' behavior. The average amount that flows from pharma to physician is about $1,700 per. Still, doctors are swayed by free dinners and speaking fees, the study finds, with prescriptions rising along with payments.
The plant in Ireland that manufactures Viagra isn't slated for any cutbacks despite Pfizer's patent loss on the erectile dysfunction blockbuster in the U.K. and Europe.
No question, statins are the big gorilla of the cholesterol-fighting drug market. And as Forbes reports today, that drug class is marking out an even bigger territory as time goes by. Over the past 5 years, statin prescriptions have grown by 17% to 214 million a year, while other cholesterol remedies lost 28% of their scripts. Now, those other drugs only account for 50 million prescriptions a year.
The recent layoffs of hundreds of drug sales reps mean there are fewer people in the field calling on doctors to see what they are prescribing. But they don't have to--drugmakers have found new tools that actually can tell them more about doctors' prescribing patterns than the physicians even know themselves.
How much is a generic drug worth to a payer? More than £350 million, for the U.K.'s National Health Service anyway. That's how much it saved during the first 12 months after Pfizer's Lipitor went off patent, the generic industry's trade association says.
India's largest generic drugmaker blamed a 90% drop in first-quarter profit on the fact it just couldn't match the same period last year when it launched its exclusive generic version of Lipitor, the world's best-selling drug.
Merck will soon launch a new cholesterol combo that melds its Zetia drug with generic Lipitor. The Zetia-plus-statin approach isn't new, of course; Merck already sells Vytorin, a combination of Zetia and its own off-patent statin Zocor, known generically as Simvastatin.