Waiting For FDA--In the Meantime, Your Emails
As we sit here closely monitoring the wires and waiting for word out of Genentech and/or the FDA about a decision on Avastin for breast cancer, it seemed like as good a time as any to once again post some samples of a flood of recent emails from readers--the good, the bad and the ugly.
Regarding my wishful post for an interviewwith Pfizer Chairman and CEO Jeff Kindler at the drug company's analyst meeting on March 5th, William Cochran, who says he's a retired 40-year employee of Pfizer and a shareholder from North Carolina writes:
"If you get the interview, PLEASE (the caps are his emphasis) ask what is being done to replace the billions of dollars that will be lost in late 2010, when Lipitor goes off patent in the U.S."
Mr. Cochran, I think that's the $13 billion (Lipitor's approximate annual revenue) question.
On my ongoing Dendreon/Provenge coverage, DNDN investor Craig Payne says he "...just wanted to say thanks for your fair and generous coverage of this whole Provenge saga, we are in your debt. IMO (In my opinion), you exemplify the highest standards of your profession."
On the flip side of my Dendreon reporting, a reader who identifies himself as R. Totino writes: "I want you to know that because of your stupid article on Dendreon, I sold last night 700 of the 800 shares I owned."
I believe he's referring to my post about the Congressional committee saying it isn't going to investigate. The stock went up the very next day when DNDN put out a press release on Provenge data and it became public that a hedge fund and Morgan Stanley had recently taken sizeable stakes in DNDN.
And many Elanians were not happy with my reporting of the positive results published in the New England Journal of Medicine for the use Rituxan from Genentechand Biogen Idec for multiple sclerosis.
Elan and BIIB make the MS drug Tysabri. They complained that I had accurately reported there'd been no reports of the rare, fatal brain disorder called PML in the Rituxan MS study. I did not mention, however, that PML is listed as a risk on the Rituxan label after a few cases occured in Lupus patients. Some Elanians seem to think there's a CNBC conspiracy against them. In fact, just my use of the "word" Elanian draws their ire.
Samir Adil writes: "It's funny how your stooges Joe Kernen and Mike Huckman constantly have bashed Elan and Tysabri."
Phil McDonald says: "Rituxan is not an MS drug and never will be. What a load of BS this guy (I assume he's referring to me) constantly delivers."
John Saurini joins the Elan chorus: "The piece on Rituxan was nothing more than a hit piece to trash Tysabri. It's too bad there are reporters such as yourself."
John Jenkins says: "You in the shorts (people betting Elan's stock will go down) pocket?"
And Jerry Fratini writes: "Does Mister Huckman hold a short position on ELN with such enthusiasm releasing a misleading piece of information?"
CNBC employees and, with rare exceptions, people who live under the same roof are prohibited from owning and trading individual stocks. And in addition to violating corporate policy, it would be a violation of my own professional ethics.
And The Ugly:
Thomas Stevenson thinks I'm unqualified to be on this beat: "Looking at your bio leaves much to be desired in biologics, financial analysis let alone the pharma biotech marketplace...."
And regarding my previous post about Merck and Schering-Plough's Vytorin study not getting "late breaker" designation at the upcoming cardiology conference, Jim Spitler emails: "You're a (insert unprintable word here) idiot and discredit CNBC. I have been following your coverage of this non-event with interest and wonder why you continue to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Vytorin is still best in class, safe and will continue to find its place in the arsenal of cardiac drugs. Your Dad work at Pfizer?"
Jim, no he does not, nor does anyone else in my family. Mr. Spitler did not disclose who he works for or what, if any, stocks he owns.
Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com