J&J takes $440M charge on Natrecor

Here's a good estimate of how much it costs when a drug goes into free-fall: $440 million. That's how much Johnson & Johnson is writing off on Natrecor, a heart failure treatment that went into a downward spiral when medical researchers suggested that it might boost the risk of kidney problems and death.

And oh, what a drug it was supposed to be. In 2003, J&J paid $2.4 billion for the biotech company Scios to get its hands on Natrecor. The drug sold at a rate of about $400 million in 2004. Then, in 2005, the safety concerns arose, and sales have been declining ever since. The $440 million charge is expected to show up in J&J's fourth-quarter earnings report.

- see this article from The New York Times