The court fight over Pfizer's stomach drug Reglan (metoclopramide) has yielded another ruling in Big Pharma's favor. Once again, a U.S. court has ruled that branded drugmakers can't be sued for damages allegedly caused by generic versions of their drugs.
Back in early 2009, when Pfizer pulled off its big merger with Wyeth, the pharma giant boasted that the combined company "will have more resources to invest in research and development than any other biopharmaceutical company." Combined, they easily outspent every other Big Pharma research operation around the world. And the company touted its new prospects with the Alzheimer's R&D group at Wyeth, including the Phase III program for bapineuzumab.
In the calm after yesterday's Pfizer-AstraZeneca deal storm, it's time to survey the potential fallout. Pfizer's aggressive strategy for avoiding taxes, totted up by The Wall Street Journal, politely thumped by the Financial Times and skewered by In the Pipeline. Fears for the U.K. science community, articulated by any number of U.K. newspapers.
Pennsylvania's high court put drug design-defect claims on the menu for patients looking to sue for damages. In a closely watched case against Pfizer's Wyeth unit, the state Supreme Court reinstated claims that the company negligently designed and marketed a diet pill, Redux, that's now withdrawn from the market.
A so-called superseding federal indictment today says former hedge fund trader Mathew Martoma, accused of insider trading in Elan and Wyeth stock, had not one but two doctors giving him the inside scoop that allowed his hedge fund to record more than $275 million in profits and losses avoided.
Last fall noted neurologist and Alzheimer's investigator Sid Gilman figured prominently in a massive insider trading case brought by the SEC. Today a second, unnamed physician surfaced in a related indictment.
The Federal Trade Commission has submitted an amicus brief in an antitrust case pitting drug retailers against Wyeth and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, in a challenge to the companies' Effexor XR settlement.
According to the Justice Department, Wyeth trained sales reps to push Rapamune for unapproved uses and offered bonuses to persuade them to flog the drug for patients it wasn't cleared to treat.
When Teva Pharmaceutical Industries launched a generic version of Protonix in 2007 before its patent expiration, it set aside $670 million to compensate Pfizer for lost profits on the drug. But with a settlement announced today, the company is finding itself $1.6 billion short.
Pfizer catapulted itself into the vaccine big leagues in 2009 by merging with Wyeth, and continued demand for Prevnar 13 has seen it consolidate its position. Analysts predict its sales could dwarf other vaccines--hitting $6.7 billion in 2018--but recent quarters suggest it will be a bumpy ride.