Puerto Rico, which has seen a number of plant closings recently, is facing another. Eli Lilly said it will close a facility in Guayama next year and put it up for sale.
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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More than three dozen drugs and APIs that were originally banned by health regulators in Canada will be allowed into the country because they are medically necessary.
Johnson & Johnson's Janssen unit is recalling 13,500 bottles of its top-selling anticoagulant Xarelto because of microbial contamination.
The U.S. government invested $440 million in three vaccine plants in the U.S. in 2012 with the proviso that if something like a pandemic occurred, it could call on them to produce drugs that it required. With Ebola spreading, those calls have now been made.
Another drugmaker is having to recall metoprolol succinate extended release tablets, a generic for AstraZeneca hypertension drug Toprol XL. This time it is Mylan and the recall is for nearly 16,000 bottles of the beta blocker.
The Office of Pharmaceutical Quality will finally open Jan. 1, and the FDA's Janet Woodcock will serve as its first acting director.
The FDA has taken steps against a Chinese heparin maker it says is using potentially tainted raw supplies and which refused to let inspectors get a good look at its plants or records so that it could find out for sure.
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To help show Americans just how important its flu vaccines are, Novartis has teamed up with entertainer Nick Cannon, who's advising consumers to prepare for flu season by getting their shots and stocking up on the Swiss pharma's over-the-counter remedy, Theraflu.
GlaxoSmithKline's vaccines unit will be getting a new look come next year, when it's expected to absorb the bulk of Novartis' vaccines lineup it bought for $7.1 billion back in April. It'll have some new management, too, with Moncef Slaoui in the chairman's role. And judging from the pharma giant's Q3 results, some change for the unit could be a good thing.