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A pharma miscellany.

Let's Play Pharmazooticals

April 1, 2008

When it comes to developing novel therapies from the animal kingdom, it's mostly a game of pick your poison

Are We Less Healthy Than Europeans?

March 1, 2008

Americans take top spots in disease prevalence

The Essential Essner

January 1, 2008

The departure of Wyeth's legendary CEO prompts a reflection on true leadership—and cooking

The List

December 1, 2007

It's that time of year again, when Santas everywhere take stock of nice and naughty in order to fill stockings—and magazines make up their lists of hits and has-beens.

The Wiki Incident

October 1, 2007

Gotcha, Big Pharma! Sort of.... Not me, a guy named Jeffrey Light. The young founder and head of tiny DC-based nonprofit Patients not Patents hit the wires recently, charging that Abbott Laboratories had edited its entry in Wikipedia, the online everybody-can-play encyclopedia, trying to make itself look better. Using a brand-new online tool called the Wiki Scanner, which allows anyone to track the source of any change entered into any of Wikipedia's 2 million articles, Light discovered that at 4:38 P.M. on July 2, 2007, several edits to the article on Abbott were made from a computer at Abbott's Chicago office.

Pink Slips and Body Counts

September 1, 2007

Ever since Jeffrey Kindler rocked our world last December with the news that Pfizer was cutting its sales force by 10,000, we've been waiting for all the other behemoths' shoes to drop. While no precise domino effect has occurred, downsizing, particularly on the sales side, is very much pharma's strategy du jour.

Oh Man, Avandia

July 3, 2007

All hell broke loose on May 21 when the New England Journal of Medicine released Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen's meta-analysis of 42 studies of Avandia, showing a 43 percent increased risk of heart attack.

Back Page: The Incredible Shrinking Donut Hole

June 1, 2007

Medicare Part D's infamous donut hole—the gap in coverage where subscribers have to shell out full drug costs—sparked a national debate long before the first poor, frail, creaky (or so you imagine) senior citizen stumbled into it. Critics of Part D—mostly Democrats, plus advocates ranging from AARP to the Gray Panthers—argue that government price negotiations, which the legislation bans, would lead to savings that could close the gap. Part D backers—mostly Republicans and PhRMA—counter with "Don't fix it if it ain't broke," pointing to surveys showing that as many as 80 percent of the 23 million subscribers are pleased with the program after just the first year. Plus, they say, Part D's so-called consumer-driven design controls costs, which, in fact, came in lower than projected.

Back Page: Christmas in July

May 1, 2007

The reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) comes but once every five years. Set to expire September 30—and with congressional Democrats riding high and consumer confidence in drug safety at record lows—the deal by which pharma pays FDA to review its products is in for a long hot summer of debate.

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