Pharmaceutical Industry and Drugs

Incredible Prices for Cancer Drugs

An unusually bold stand by doctors at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York has forced a big drug company to reduce the cost of an overpriced drug for treating colorectal cancer that was no better than a cheaper competitor and did almost nothing to extend a patient’s life. It is a heartening sign […]

FDA Advisers Want Straight Talk About Risks on Labels for Birth Control Pills

After weighing the benefits of a new generation of birth control pills against potentially fatal blood clot risks associated with the drugs, federal scientific advisers have called for a regulatory compromise. Their recommendation to the Food and Drug Administration: Let the pills stay on the market, but require straight talk about the risks on the […]

Girls Under 17 Will Still Need a Prescription to Get ‘Morning After Pill’

The Obama administration has scuttled a proposal to make emergency contraceptives available to all women, including girls 16 and younger, without a prescription. In what the Los Angeles Times called an unexpected move, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius rejected a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to permit a pill known as […]

Jury Awards $73 Million Over Pfizer Drugs’ Link to Breast Cancer

A Philadelphia jury has awarded $72.6 million to three women who sued Pfizer Inc., claiming that the pharmaceutical company’s menopause drugs caused them to develop breast cancer. The plaintiffs, all now in their 60s, for years took Prempro or related hormone replacement medications made by Pfizer’s Wyeth and Pharmacia Upjohn units. As Bloomberg reports, more […]

Senators Examine Pfizer Deal to Thwart Sales of Rival Generic Drugs

Time ran out this week on the patent for Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Lipitor, the top-selling medication for fighting cholesterol. The marketplace is beginning to open to competing generic versions of the drug. But, as The New York Times reports, Pfizer, with unprecedented  discount deals, found what could be a way to preserve much of its […]

China’s Plans for Vaccine Exports Raise Hopes and Fears

Chinese vaccine makers are gearing up to boost their exports over the next few years. The move is raising hopes that lower-cost immunizations will become available for the world’s poor — as well as fears that vaccine quality standards will be threatened. As USA Today reports, China captured world attention in 2009 when one of […]

Merck to Plead Guilty, Pay $950 Million to Settle Vioxx Marketing Charges

Merck & Co. will pay $950 million, and a unit of the company will plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor, to settle allegations that it illegally marketed its once-popular painkiller Vioxx. The deal resolves the government’s criminal and civil investigations against the company dating back to 2004 over its promotion of Vioxx to treat rheumatoid […]

AIDS Deaths Worldwide Declining, New Infections Leveling Off

A United Nations report is offering a measure of hope that the tide is turning in the global battle against AIDS. The report by the UN agency fighting the disease, UNAIDs, said that the number of people worldwide every year newly infected with HIV has leveled off, remaining around 2.7 million since 2007. At the […]

FDA Revokes Approval of Avastin for Breast Cancer Patients

Federal regulators have revoked approval of the blockbuster drug Avastin for treating breast cancer patients. As The Associated Press reports, the Food and Drug Administration said Avastin appeared to be a false hope for breast cancer. The agency concluded that the drug doesn’t extend the lives of, or otherwise benefit breast cancer patients, and that […]

Europe Takes Aim at Rising Threat of Superbugs

The European Union has unveiled a five-year plan to combat the growing threat of potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In a news release, authorities said that 25,000 Europeans die every year from infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, or so-called superbugs, which often cannot be contained by existing medicines. “We need to take swift and determined action […]