A Sanofi spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that it has delayed some forms of its Fluzone because the flu strains used to produce the shot did not grow as fast as expected. A GSK spokesman said in an email Monday that it has cut its production targets to 26 million to 27 million doses for the U.S. from the 28 million to 33 million doses originally anticipated.
Debate about the appropriate price for drugs is ongoing. It costs a lot of money to discover and develop drugs, including the money that gets sunk into candidates that don't succeed. And because of the way the U.S. market works, it will have the highest prices that the market will bear.
When it comes to selling big, cancer drugs have a lot going for them. Their targets--deadly diseases that in many cases can kill quickly--put them in high demand, even as they continue to redefine "premium pricing." Some newer drugs can be targeted at patient groups who have the best chances of benefiting, helping justify those high costs. And biologics, for now, don't face the same generic onslaughts that pummel pharma sales come patent expiration time.
That's not to say they don't face roadblocks. Plenty of cancer heavyweights have run into failed label expansions, governmental cost critics, patent woes and biosimilar threats. But even so, the top 10 managed to rake in worldwide sales between $1.7 billion and $7.8 billion, according to EvaluatePharma data.
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Eli Lilly has published a how-to paper about its ambitious technology transfer program to help China, India, Russia and South Africa produce two drugs to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. The bottom line is that the undertaking was harder than expected, and while it did not fully achieve all of its goals, it was worth doing.
Sanofi, which bought controlling interest in Dubai's Globalpharma in June, will kick off production there with generics of 6 of its drugs. Sanofi is now managing the facility.
Novo Nordisk in August bought a plant in New Hampshire that Japan's Olympus Biologics was giving up. Now it is looking for people to help operate it.
The vaccinemaker Serum Institute of India, which jumped into the biosimilars race in July, is expanding its manufacturing network both in India and the Netherlands. The company says it will invest about $163 million for a new facility in its home country.
Genentech CEO Ian Clark is again being publicly chastised for his company's decision to move three of its best-selling cancer drugs to specialty distributors. Groups representing more than 5,000 hospitals say, besides higher costs, the move is as likely to encourage counterfeiting as to deter it.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals got a closeout notice in March for a warning letter that had been hanging over its West-Ward plant in New Jersey. But at nearly the same time, inspectors were looking over a Hikma facility in Portugal, and the Jordan-based company says the FDA has now issued a warning letter for its sterile injectables plant there.
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Express Scripts--which has made its feelings well known when it comes to the high cost of Gilead's next-gen hepatitis C drugs--says it may quickly change its preferred drug formulary to favor a anticipated challenger from the Illinois company, Reuters reports, provided it's clinically equivalent--and less expensive, of course.
Impax Laboratories, which has struggled for several years to get its Parkinson's drug Rytary to market, is moving away from early-stage research and has cut its R&D staff by 42 jobs, a 25% reduction to save money.