CHICAGO— A jury has awarded $14 million to a suburban Chicago woman who said in a lawsuit that she suffered a debilitating stroke after taking the birth control drug Yasmin. Friday's verdict came after a two-week trial in Cook County Circuit Court. A $2.5 million settlement in the same matter was reached a month ago with the hospital, Resurrection Medical Center.» Read More
In the wake of my semantic disagreement with Amgen over whether it beat, met or missed its earnings pre-announcement earlier this month, analysts are putting out research notes to clients on the company's results, guidance and new drug data and blog readers are sending emails about my take on the full year 2007 number.
I just got back to my desk after doing a breaking news alert on Amgen's earnings. To sum up, I characterized the report as a mixed bag. The anemia drug sales weren't as bad as expected. Overall revenue was higher than consensus. And fourth quarter earnings per share was three cents higher than the Street.
ImpactRx--which follows prescription writing for the industry, investors and analysts--is out with a press release this afternoon assessing the damage to Merck and Schering-Plough's cholesterol franchise of Vytorin and Zetia.
After yesterday's beat and boost by drug giant Pfizer and a late-day rally in the stock, analysts are providing clients their take on the numbers as the shares traded lower in the early going. Deutsche Bank's Barbara Ryan is keeping her long-standing "Buy" rating on PFE, even though she told me recently she's been "long and wrong" on the stock.
As I write this at the start of the second hour of regular trading, Pfizer is hangin' on to a small gain. It's the only big pharma stock trading higher this morning and for a moment after the opening bell it was the only Dow component in the green. (Merck and Schering-Plough, still reeling from the Vytorin/Zetia study, are getting pummeled again in the early going--each down more than a buck.)
This press release and letters to the CEOs of MRK and SGP from the House Energy and Commerce Committee just arrived in my inbox:
I'm blogging today from outside the New York Stock Exchange where I'm trying to round up "man-on-the-(Wall) street" reaction to the markets. In the meantime, back on the beat, for the second day Merck and Schering-Plough have taken out two-page ads in major newspapers defending their cholesterol drugs Zetia and Vytorin whose efficacy is under attack.
I blogged recently that a spokesperson for the House Energy and Commerce Committee had told me a decision could be made by the end of this week regarding the Dendreon saga.
After watching his stock lose more than one-fifth of its value this week, Schering-Plough CEO Fred Hassan apparently decided the shares are on sale. This morning the company issued a press release announcing Hassan (pronounced Haa-sun, not the commonly mispronounced Huh-sahn) will shell out $2 million of his own money to buy SGP shares on the open market.
This doesn't come as any big surprise, but Pfizer announced this morning that it is putting a warning--and that's the company's word--on the label of its stop-smoking pill Chantix. It says people taking the drug should be watched for "serious neuropsychiatric symptoms, including changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior."
If or when you watch one of the presidential debates count how many times the candidates say, "the drug companies." Of course, it depends on which party's debate you might be watching, but since I started paying attention to the race in recent weeks, I've taken notice how much those three words seem to be apart of boilerplate answers and statements...
The American College of Cardiology is weighing in on the controversial ENHANCE study that has battered shares of Merck and Schering-Plough over the past couple of days. Most notably I think is that the ACC says, "There should be no reason for patients to panic."
I had planned to blog about the nearly unanimous bearish analyst commentary this morning after Genentech's earnings report yesterday. The biotech giant beat on earnings per share, but came up short on Street expectations for sales of its top four drugs. DNA shares are under pressure again today.
In the wake of Pfizer pulling the plug on its poor-selling inhaled insulin Exubera, the world's biggest diabetes drug company, Novo Nordisk is throwing in the towel on development of its version of inhaled insulin.
The highly anticipated results of the study that goes by the acronym "ENHANCE" are out this morning. You can see what it stands for in the companies' press release. (I wonder how many meetings and brainstorming sessions go into coming up with some of the industry's clinical trial acronyms and abbreviations.)
The brouhaha over the Food and Drug Administration's delay of the potential approval of the prostate cancer drug Provenge from the small biotechnology company Dendreon is now entering the prestigious and credible sphere of peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Even though I'm back on the East Coast today I wanted to share what I think is an interesting anecdote from my time Monday at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference which is wrapping up in San Francisco.
BioMed Tracker, which closely monitors the clinical trial and drug approval process for investors, is out with a new report today on the Food and Drug Administration's record last year. The drug approval rate went down 13 percent and the number of "approvable letters" went up a whopping 40 percent. An approvable letter has become a euphemism for "delay."
So, imagine my surprise when Amgen put out a press release this morning with new financial guidance. You can read it for yourself here. The release was issued in conjunction with the company's presentation at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference.
After the closing bell Monday, Genzyme and Isis Pharmaceuticals announced a blockbuster deal that set the overcrowded halls abuzz here at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. They're partnering on an Isis drug in late-stage development for cholesterol. It's a once-a-week injectable for people who don't get their cholesterol low enough taking a statin like Lipitor, Crestor or Zocor.