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
Okay, the real "Granddaddy of 'em all" was actually this past Tuesday at the Rose Bowl (I promise that's my last reference to the amazing USC Trojans unless they win a split national championship), but the granddaddy of healthcare investment conferences begins on Monday in San Francisco.
In a research note to clients this morning, Miller Tabak healthcare analyst Les Funtleyder writes about the FDA news I blogged about yesterday regarding Amgen's anemia drugs. He says, "...we believe the major 'leg down' in usage (of the anemia drugs) was last year and more studies assuming no major new negative revelations will only serve to continue deterioration but at a decelerating rate."
The Food and Drug Administration late this morning put out a news release with the heading, "FDA Receives New data on Risks of Anemia Drugs." This is more bad news for an additional population of cancer patients and, of course, Amgen and, to a lesser extent, Johnson and Johnson.
Pfizer sent out a press release this morning touting the findings of a company-sponsored European survey of ex-smokers. The study found that 84 percent of the respondents in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK who had consulted with a doctor or some other healthcare professional about quitting thought it was helpful.
The "Dendreonians" have probably already seen it, but I wanted to call your attention to a pretty long piece that ran in the health section of the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 31st. It's about the grass-roots movement to get Dendreon's prostate cancer drug, Provenge, approved by the FDA. Here's the link.
The seven biggest stories in my sectors in 2007? Avandia, Dendreon, Pfizer, Biogen were just a few of the topics that made this a fascinating year for the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industries.
A Merrill Lynch research note to clients titled, "Diabetics scared off therapy," contains some interesting observations about what's happened to the oral diabetes drug market in the wake of the Avandia safety scare earlier this year.
Shares of drugmaker Wyeth could remain under pressure this day after Christmas. At least two analysts are suggesting that Wyeth could be under assault by another generic drug company.
Yes, I'd rather be blogging about another topic by now, but I hope this will be the last entry -- at least for awhile -- on the Avastin vs. Lucentis story. You see, last Friday I got repeatedly voice-mailed and e-mailed by Christine Castro, the new head of corporate communications/media relations at Genentech...
So, it didn't take long after my Genentech blog entry got posted yesterday for me to receive an email and a voicemail from a Genentech spokesperson requesting a "clarification" on my take regarding the latest chapter in the Avastin vs. Lucentis brouhaha. I think I'm being spun.
Genentech today has essentially backed down from a proposed crackdown on doctors' use of the cancer drug Avastin instead of the way more expensive Lucentis. The drugs are used to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD, for short), which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
Most of my PR and professional contacts send Christmas cards, but for the past two years the boutique Wall Street firm, Rodman & Renshaw, has sent me heavy metal piggy banks. I assume the company sends them to its clients as well.
Eli Lilly announced this morning that Chairman and CEO Sidney Taurel is retiring as CEO on March 31st next year. He will stay on as Chairman and on April Fool's Day Chief Operating Officer John Lechleiter will take over as CEO. Investors, at least in early trading, seem to like the choice.
Japan will order an average drug price cut of 5.2 percent in its latest drug price review to take effect from next April, a government source said on Tuesday.
Shares of biotech behemoth Amgen are trading at a new intra-day low in the early going this morning after the company announced new data on its developmental osteoporosis drug late Friday. The Phase 3, or late-stage, study was designed to see if the twice-a-year injectable drug strengthened the bones of women with a certain type of breast cancer.
The biotech momentum players and the Dendreonites--or Dendreonians--are buzzing about the story we broke on "Power Lunch" Thursday that three members of Congress are asking the House Energy and Commerce Committee to hold a hearing about the Dendreon/Provenge saga. The shares spiked on very heavy volume.
Novartis is the latest company to brand its downsizing, cost-cutting campaign. The Swiss drugmaker is calling its initiative, "Forward". It's not an acronym. So, "Forward" means Novartis is going to try to save $1.6 billion in 2010 and get rid of 2,500 employees. Although I don't think "Forward" is the word which begins with "f" that the affected workers would use to describe the initiative.
Last year one of our producers had the bright idea of assigning each of CNBC's beat reporters a story about seven predictions for their beat for 2007. So, now this year not only do we have to do the 8 for '08 thing for TV, but also for the blog.
The morning after the Merck annual business briefing, the analyst reviews are pouring in. For the most part, the ones that I've received at least, say it had a good beat. Only Sanford C. Bernstein's Tim Anderson says he can't dance to it. He titles a research note to clients, "Annual Business Review Uneventful--No Real Surprises, Positive Or Negative."
I'm back at Merck HQ in central Jersey for the annual analyst meeting. And I must say that the reception--so far, at least--is much more hospitable and helpful than last year wen things were tense and got a little ugly. A new pr team is in place.