A ho-hum week for Pharma

1. Pfizer gets hit with a record $2.3. fine for off-label marketing of drugs.

2. Forest Laboratories' marketing shenanigans for its antidepressant Lexapro. As the New York Times reported:

"A document quietly made public recently by the Senate's Special Committee on Aging demonstrates just how Forest managed to turn a medicinal afterthought into a best seller. ... (the document makes) clear that one of the principal means by which Forest hoped to persuade psychiatrists, primary care doctors and other medical specialists to prescribe Lexapro was by finding many ways to put money into doctors' pockets and food into their mouths."

3. Schering -Plough motion to dismiss is denied - as reported by ShearlingsPlowed.com:

(The judge has) gone out of his way to signal that he thinks the plaintiffs have mustered-up a pretty good set of claims:

. . . .Plaintiffs, purchasers of Schering-Plough Corp. ("Schering") securities during the period July 24, 2006 to March 28, 2008, allege that Schering, five members of its senior management, eleven of its current directors and one former director, and eighteen underwriters that participated in Schering's August 2007 public stock offering (the "Offering") are liable in damages for unlawful misstatements and omissions made in connection with the Offering relating to the cholesterol drug Vytorin and the ENHANCE clinical study. . . .

Merck CEO wanted poster.jpg4. Merck price-gouging its HIV drug? ShearlingsPlowed.com reports this one, too:

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today unveiled its latest advocacy campaign challenging Merck and Co. Pharmaceuticals over the steep price of its key HIV/AIDS drug, Isentress (raltegravir). The first phase of the public awareness campaign includes a postcard mailer, scheduled to arrive this week in the mailboxes of residents of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, where Merck is headquartered. The front of the postcard features a mock "Wanted" poster with an artist rendering of Merck CEO Richard T. Clark pictured beneath the headline: "WANTED: Criminal AIDS Drug Pricing."


5. Merck in court over Fosamax problems, as reported by the NY Times:

Drug executives, product liability lawyers and Wall Street analysts are closely watching a jury trial in New York over medical problems associated with Fosamax, a drug from Merck that has been taken by millions of women to offset the bone loss associated with menopause.


It is the first of about 900 state and federal cases pending against Merck in which plaintiffs claim that taking Fosamax caused them to develop a rare problem called osteonecrosis of the jaw.

For people who cover the drug industry or follow the drug industry closely, this is probably not an extraordinary week.

Which is an extraordinary observation in itself.

What's that about market solutions to health care reform?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on September 3, 2009 10:43 AM.

Pfizer fine followup: a story of "profits at all costs, even when endangering lives" was the previous entry in this blog.

How important prostate news is made is the next entry in this blog.

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