Drugmakers cut DTC spend by almost 10%; Hungary gets $5.8B in orders for Richter bonds;

> U.S. drugmakers cut their spending on direct-to-consumer advertising to $4.4 billion in 2008 from $4.8 billion in 2007, a 9 percent decline. Article

> Hungary got orders for almost 4 billion euros ($5.8 billion) of exchangeable bonds in Gedeon Richter, signaling a return of confidence in the country and local companies. Article

> Former KV Pharmaceutical CEO and current board member Marc Hermelin and his family members have fixed a technicality to move forward with a bylaw change that would allow the group greater influence over the business. Article

> British officials said they had received less Celvapan vaccine than agreed with Baxter, one of two companies slated to provide pandemic-flu vaccine this year. Article

> Bumper sales of its autoimmune drug Deltacortril have led to a near-tripling in profits at Alliance Pharma, prompting the group to announce a maiden dividend. Article

> Medical representatives from AstraZeneca are number one in the eyes of doctors, according to a poll undertaken this year by Doctors.net.uk. Article

> Cumberland Pharmaceuticals launched its fever and pain drug Caldolor, an injectable form of ibuprofen intended for patients who are hospitalized and cannot take oral drugs. Article

> Meda Pharmaceuticals announced the commercial availability of Edluar, its insomnia treatment, in the US. Article

> A 68 percent increase in production among U.S. drugmakers in Ireland helped fuel an 8.9 percent growth in the country's industrial output for July. Article

Biotech News

> Seattle-based Targeted Genetics has survived a near death experience, selling intellectual property to Genzyme in exchange for $7 million--enough cash to fund its operations through next year. Article

> Two of Sepracor's stockholders are shouting foul in a lawsuit aimed at derailing Dainippon Sumitomo's $2.6 billion acquisition pact, hoping for a richer deal in the process. Article

> Ista Pharmaceuticals has won FDA approval for its new treatment for itchy eyes, an event that spurred the developer to move up plans to expand its sales force and launch the therapy in the fourth quarter. Article

> Vivus says that its pivotal trials for the experimental weight-loss drug Qnexa hit their primary endpoints, providing the data the developer says it needs to win regulatory approval and sending its shares up 74 percent in early trading. Article

> Back in early April Novavax's stock was trading for a meager 52 cents a share. Before the bell this morning it hit $6.01. And CEO Rahul Singhvi clearly believes that the vaccine-maker, which is advancing new virus-like particle technology for influenza, has a ways to go before its shares hit their limit. Article

Vaccine News

> With two new swine flu vaccines approved for use and five million doses scheduled for delivery this month, China is set to become the first country to begin a mass vaccination campaign against the H1N1 pandemic. But officials with the World Health Organization say that there are some concerns about potential side effects. Article

> The FDA is giving Dynavax Technologies a green light to resume testing of a late-stage hepatitis B vaccine that had been derailed 18 months ago after a patient in one study developed a rare inflammatory autoimmune disease. Article

> Vical is touting new animal data demonstrating that its experimental H1N1 vaccine produced a strong immune response against three distinct strains of swine flu. And it's rushing ahead in an attempt to gain additional funds for early-stage human trials, which could start weeks after the money is available. Article

And Finally... Doctors have tripled the amount of time they spend online for professional reasons, to about eight hours a week, a shift that's likely to prompt changes in pharmaceutical marketing. Article