Tag Archives: drug marketing

Transplanting Feces 6/20/2013

20 Jun

People that have contracted Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) bacteria have not been able to find a cure until recently. The treatment today, found to be successful over 90% of the time, involves transplanting feces from a healthy patient into the gut of the infected patient. OSU has approved treatment in Ohio.

This week, FDA backed off the requirement for hospitals and doctors to “treat human stool as an unapproved drug”.

So who are those “donors” for the program? As an example of a universal donor is Dr. Hunter Johnson.

8/14/2013 Update – Researchers are now working to generate safe alternatives to the real thing in the laboratory.


They Used to Call It Price Fixing

19 Jun

It used to be that companies could not collude to fix prices and avoid competition.

In 2008, DeBeers settled a lawsuit about price fixing diamonds.

In 2010, DRAM makers settled a price fixing litigation with 33 states.

Even this month, Chocolate manufacturers in Canada were being sued for price fixing chocolate in that country.

Canada’s Competition Bureau said in a statement that Hershey Canada was expected to plead guilty later this month “for its role in the conspiracy to fix the price of chocolate confectionery products in Canada.”

This week the Supreme Court ruled that profit sharing between drug companies that hold patents and generic manufacturers can be legally challenged.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for millions of Americans who depend on generic drugs to treat illness and pain,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “Pay-for-delay drug settlements should receive serious scrutiny because they are frequently anti-competitive, unlawful, and harmful to health-care consumers across the country.”

In the Federal Trade Commission vs. Activis lawsuit, Solvay Pharmaceutical had negotiated an agreement to pay three generic manufacturers between $31M and $42M to withhold a generic version (and patent challenges) of the AndroGel product from the market until 2015. AndroGel is topical testosterone applied in gel form.

The FTC has fought such “pay-for-delay” settlements for a decade as their number has grown, from just three in 2005 to 40 last year. They were joined in this case by a coalition of 36 states that argued the deals should be subject to challenge.

It is suggested that generic manufacturers have to legally challenge a drug patent before they can bring a generic version to market. The “pay for delay” agreements are apparently put in place to avoid the litigation costs. An explanation of the duration, and types of drug patents can be found here.

Either way, the Supreme Court ruling should open the door for generic drugs to make their way to market earlier.

Drug Costs and By-Passed Patents

24 Apr

In foreign countries, drugs are usually much less expensive. Recently India passed laws circumventing the patents on cancer treatment drugs entirely in order to mass produce generics for their population.

Some may say that is not fair. After all, how are the pharmaceutical companies going to recoup their R&D?

In a 2008 study published in the PLOS Medical Journal in 2008, drug companies spend twice as much on advertising as they do on research. That process was so successful, when re-looking at the expenses in 2012, that ratio had increased to 19. The BMJ Group (Owned by the British Medical Association) suggests that part of the reason for this, is the lack of successful new product development. A good reference to this topic is found on the Huffington Post.

Pharmaceutical Companies Spent 19 Times More On Self-Promotion Than Basic Research: Report

Direct To Consumer (DTC) Marketing of drugs is only legal in the US and New Zealand.  Any pullback of the advertising budgets from the pharmaceutical companies will affect either the quality, or quantity of original content. Perhaps the advertising revenues can be focused on improving the quality of the existing television content?