Benfits Merger Worry For Pharma Companies

Two pharmacy benefits companies are set to merge in a multi-billion dollar deal, reports fiercepharma.com.

Pharmaceutical companies are beginning to worry that due to the proposed $29 billion deal that will see Express Scripts buy Medco Health Solutions, drug prices could decrease, affecting the pharamceutical compnies profits. Most who have commented on the deal, including Eli Lilly’s CFO Dernica Rice, have played down the impact the buy-out will have, with Rice saying Lilly could maintain its negotiation power through their products advantage over the generic drugs on the market.

However, Michael Luby, of BioPharma Alliance, believes the merger will mean the combined company would have “extraordinary purchasing power… [and] leverage [over] pharmaceutical companies.” Price cuts in Europe; particularly Germany and Spain, have been causing pharmaceutical companies problems, and having staved off effort from the US government over pricing, the big companies are now going to have to attempt to stop the private sector submitting the pharmaceutical sector to the same pricing measures.

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Sanofi and Dendreon Battle for UK Market

Sanofi, a leading pharmaceutical company, has launched new cancer drug Jevtana in the UK, reports inpharm.com.

EMA approval was granted after extensive phase III trials which indicated the drug extended the life of men suffering from a type of prostate cancer considerably. It also slowed the time it took the cancer to progress compared to standard chemotherapy drugs.

However, Sanofi will face competition from US firm Dendreon, as they seek to launch their drug Provenge into the European market. Ultimately, Provenge extends the patient’s life further and reduces the risk of death by nearly 25%, though it would cost £25,000 more to treat a single patient than Jevtana, so would struggle to be able to convince NICE that it is worth the extra cost.

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GSK to Announce Over 3,000 Job Cuts

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Pharmaceutical industry giant, is expected to announce this week that it will be reducing its investment in certain disease areas and will cut more than 3,000 pharmaceutical jobs.

Andrew Witty, the companies CEO of 18 months has planned to switch the focus of this British-based company towards the growing emerging markets, including China. The move follows a number of drugs losing their patent protection in western countries and US and European governments cutting back on medicine spending. This will lead to cuts to the workforce in Europe and the US, whilst continuing to expand in Asia. GSK employs more than 20,000 staff in the UK at sites in Ware, Temple Hill in Dartford, Maidenhead and Worthing.

The announcement follows last weeks news that AstraZeneca will be cutting 8,000 staff.

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