Cigna Corp. rose $2.18 or 2.6 percent, to $86.50. Humana Inc. rose $2.09 or 2.1 percent, to $104.00. UnitedHealth Group rose$. 75 or 1.0 percent, to $73.50.» Read More
GlaxoSmithKline is rallying today after reporting that second quarter sales of its diabetes drug Avandia, fell 31% in the U.S. from the same time a year ago. And from the first quarter of this year to the second quarter, revenue in the U.S. from the blockbuster pill slid $120 million. So, why are investors buying the beaten-down stock?
With little or no fanfare Pfizer launched a new ad campaign for its erectile dysfunction drug Viagra on NBC Nightly News last night. Pfizer has gotten into a bit of trouble before for its relatively racy Viagra spots like the "Horny Devil" campaign featuring the guy with two horns growing out of his head. This time it's got a bunch of 40-something guys sitting around a dusty barn singing "Viva Viagra" to the tune of Elvis' "Viva Las Vegas".
After a disappointing week for big pharma earnings, Merck and Schering-Plough start the second-half of the sector's reporting season with a bang. Both companies beat the Street on the top and bottom lines. Merck also raised its full-year earnings guidance to boot. And investors love it. Look at the huge move in the Dow component.
With a couple of exceptions the pharma earnings season has failed to impress Wall Street, so far. Take a look at the one week performance of the Amex Pharmaceutical Index versus the Dow. Next week there's no let-up. Right out of the gate on Monday morning Merck and Schering-Plough report.
Filmmaker Michael Moore, whose movie "Sicko" opens Friday, told CNBC that he's urging investors to dump shares of health insurers and health maintenance organizations because "people don't need a middleman between the doctor and the patient."
Australian drugs company Sigma Pharmaceuticals said on Wednesday it was in final talks with a potential partner on a counter bid for Symbion Health before a deadline of June 19.
Australian hospital operator Healthscope formally launched a $2.3 billion bid for Symbion Health on Tuesday, backed by two private equity firms.
In the middle of the Avandia blowup, GlaxoSmithKline this week is launching the new over-the-counter diet pill "Alli." The company says it's spending 150 million bucks on the first-year marketing of the formerly prescription-only Xenical from Roche.A big chunk of that is going toward a multi-pronged educational campaign to convince dieters they have to change their eating habits and exercise if they want to get the maximum benefit from Alli. That's crucial with this drug because the more fat you eat, the worse the gastrointestinal side effects. Clue: Glaxo is telling Alli users to wear dark pants and bring an extra pair to work. The company has gone so far as to set up an exhibit in New York City this week where people can get more information about Alli.